However - you have to applaud him for stepping in on very short notice to play in Journey and he definitely did a good job given the situation he was in. One major thing I was REALLY impressed with was Hakim's extremely contagious smile and pure joy. He played in both the opening band (Neil Schon Vertex) and Journey and for both sets he was smiling and having a GREAT time which added to the energy of the performance.
Opening Band - "Neil Schon Vertex"
Great band but really a musician's jam band. The music they played was really technical and great however I think it was the wrong band to open for Journey and many people at the show left to get refreshments while they played because it seemed like a marathon jam session. Monster musicians though.
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Any Way You Want It
Be Good to Yourself
City of Hope
Only the Young
O Canada - Neil Schon Solo
Stone in Love
Opened the Door
Who's Crying Now
La Do Da
Wheel in the Sky
Don't Stop Believin'
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'
The rest of the band (except Hakim), especially Jonathan Cain (keyboards), really added great harmony to the music via their background vocals. A special shout out to Cain because his background vocals were SO great and you don't realize how great they are until you hear him singing background with Pineda on his own.
Journey delivered the songs everybody wanted to hear but there was definitely a huge gap left with the absence of Deen Castronovo. Overall though a solid show and the band really interacted with the audience quite well. Omar Hakim (fill in drummer) had fantastic energy and was really enjoying himself despite the fact some of the songs were not played accurately.
My favourite songs of the night were "Stone in Love" and Who's Crying Now". Loved the huge dump of confetti on their signature hit "Don't Stop Believin'".
As always, the SOEC attracts a great, fun loving, respectful crowd. It was great to see parents there with their kids, people singing along with the big hits, and no drunken or stoned fools.
Audience Interaction & Engagement: A
Quality and Diversity of Music: C+
Stage Presence of Band B+
Energy from the Crowd: A+
Notable Exceptions from Setlist: When You Love a Woman
Overall rating for the show: B+