Journey is two down, two to do at Resorts World Theater. But the great guitarist Neal Schon already wants more.
“I am so blown away. I don’t think I’ve ever performed in such a hip theater,” Schon said in a phone conversation on Monday. “It’s obviously state-of-the-art, AEG doesn’t do anything halfway. I love this place and would like to come back and have a longer stay, a real residence. A longer race would be really cool.
Journey performs in front of a full orchestra filled with Las Vegas musicians for this four-concert pack. It’s a throwback to the format of the band’s appearance at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in December.
Since that show, the band have released “Freedom,” their first album since 2011’s “Eclipse,” their third with vocalist Arnel Pineda, and the 15th studio album overall. “American Idol” alum and (for a time) Journey bassist Randy Jackson returned to the band to record “Freedom,” and Schon says it’s still possible that Jackson will be back for the shows on Sunday. weekend. He could play too.
“Randy just got back from Ireland, he was over there filming his new TV show, ‘Name That Tune,’ over there,” Schon said. “He told me he was going to try to come to the second set of shows.”
Today’s Journey is Schon, Pineda, multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Cain, drummer Deen Castronovo, keyboardist Jason Derlatka and bassist Todd Jensen. Schon said the set list varied from the Friday show to Saturday.
Confidently, the band plays their biggest hit, “Don’t Stop Believing,” right out of the blocks. It’s the third song. “Only The Young”, “Open Arms”, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'”, “Fiithfully” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” are among Journey’s anthems performed to majestic effect.
Asked about a musical highlight, Schon paused, then said, “Usually I can walk away from the show and say, ‘Wow, that song really killed it tonight. I felt like there were a lot of highlights in this show, but personally, I liked “Opened the Door,” because we haven’t played it in years. It was fresh again.
The song closes the 1978 album, “Infinity, famous for ‘Lights’ and ‘Wheel In The Sky’, classics also performed at Resorts World.
But “Opened the Door” is a classic album barely cut until the orchestra shows up.
“I love the violin that happens at the end,” Schon said. “We have the guitars, the full string section and the horns that really drive this Celtic mode. I was really able to dive into it, emotionally, and improvise. It was very cool.
Give the group some
The musicians who layer Journey’s hard-rock sound are dubbed The Violution Orchestra. The band is the brainchild of top Vegas fiddler Jennifer Lynn (who hired all the musicians) and producer/musician Patrick Caccia.
Similar to Lady Gaga at Dolby Live and Michael Bublé at Resorts World, Journey spotlights several Vegas musicians in their residency productions. Lynn is concertmaster. Dave Loeb, the famed director of UNLV’s Jazz Studies program, is a bandleader. Orchestrator Sean O’Loughlin wrote all the arrangements.
At least half of the 25-member orchestra has ties to UNLV’s music program. With very few exceptions, all are from Las Vegas.
“I once had a working relationship with Jonathan Cain through a side project that evolved into putting together the orchestra specifically for Journey, at his request,” Lynn said. “We are all having an amazing time and we are very grateful for this opportunity.”
Schon had no plan for such orchestral maneuvers. But he’s not complaining.
“I was ready to play without the orchestra, but AEG said, ‘No, we’d rather you did it with the orchestra, that’s how we want you to thrive in this place,'” said Schon. “Obviously I just agreed, the guys agreed, and I think it went really well.”
Be ready for it…
A beloved Las Vegas artist is about to be announced as the headliner of an off-Strip club. Hint: It’s sunny, but at night…
And that …
At least three Vegas favorites are in the main cast for the upcoming musical opening “Bat Out Of Hell” this September at the Paris Theater…
who was where
Legendary actor Chazz Palminteri treats his good pal Sandy “Blue Eyes” Favuzzi to the golden tour of Las Vegas. Favuzzi is a well-known Elvis fan who has visited Graceland about 20 times, but never been to Vegas before this trip.
The two hit Carver Steak at Resorts World, Usher’s performance at Dolby Live (Palminteri and Usher co-starred in the 2005 film “In the Mix”), Italian American Club Showroom (for the supper show -Zowie Bowie’s club), “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, and Bronx Wanderers at Westgate (Palminteri has been close friends with BW founder Vinny Adinolfi since their days in the Bronx).
At the end of this adventure, Palminteri’s VIP guest could be Sandy Bleary Eyes.
cool hang alert
Rock You Up, playing 60s and 70s rock ‘n’ roll favorites, rocks the shack from noon to 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Saloon, 310 West Spring Street in Goodsprings. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but the rock beat is worth the trip. Rock You Up is made up of Tim Soldan on Hammond organ, Eden Caz on vocals (and cowbell), Tito Zuniga on lead guitar and Bob Antal on drums. No cover for this groove-fest afternoon.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.