For years now, Journey has been my favorite feel-good band, based mostly on that most ultimate of power ballads, Don’t Stop Believin’. This love has survived the resurgence of (and subsequent backlash against) the song via The Sopranos and dudebros who overplay it on bar jukeboxes. Many people of discerning taste might even call it the most overplayed song of all time, but I just. do. not. care.
It’s a song made for hugging and hi-fiving and loving life when you’re drunk at your friends’ squalid college house late at night. It’s made for reassuring you when you’re trying to make it on your own in San Francisco, it rains for an entire month straight, and you can’t get the dampness out of the cheap shoes you walk everywhere in. If you’re me and Jason, it’s even the recessional right after you've said your vows at your goddamn wedding.
That picture is an exact distillation of the joy that the song represents. Love! Happiness! Keep believing when your shoes are perma-wet, and someday you’ll marry the love of your life!
Last Thursday, we finally got the chance to see Journey in concert, at the Sleep Train Amphitheater (an extremely terrible name for a place where rock n’ roll happens) in Chula Vista. San Diego County was having a rough week, to put it mildly, with fires burning huge swathes of the landscape, record May temperatures of greater than 100 degrees, terrible ashy air quality, and snarled traffic from freeway closures.
If ever there was a time that San Diego needed Journey, it was now. On a more personal level, Jason had been suffering from the flu all week, adding fever to the list of things tormenting him (a list that already included his parents being evacuated from his childhood home). The Copelands, too, needed a reminder that always believing is a good policy.
And did we EVER get one. I had heard the story of how Journey found their new lead singer from the Philippines via youtube but had never actually heard him sing. He sounds so much like Steve Perry that it’s scary. Between the personal strife of the week, our city’s strife, and the awesomeness of the fact that a former superfan is now touring the world with his favorite band, I was straight up crying tears of joy by the time they played Don’t Stop Believin’.
Two terrible pictures I snapped in between dancing, hugging, and tears: