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Journey Salutes New York's Trial By Fire

Playing New York for the first time since the events of Sept. 11, arena rockers Journey paid special tribute to its Long Island fans on July 27, with a rousing 26-song performance at the Brookhaven Amphitheater at Bald Hill, in Farmingville, N.Y.

After an energetic slate of classic songs, including "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Stone in Love," "Ask the Lonely" and "Lights," guitarist Neal Schon, guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory, vocalist Steve Augeri and drummer Deen Castronovo, came out on stage for a short acoustic set of rarities dedicated to those that lost their lives on Sept. 11.

Cain explained to a captivated audience how the two songs they were about to play took on a whole new meaning for him after the tragedy of 9/11 and dedicated the set to the memories of the lost, encouraging fans to hold their heads high and carry on defiantly. The strum of Schon's acoustic guitar led to moving performances of the obscure "Liberty" and "Trial By Fire," the title track from the band's 1996 album.

Other highlights included the opening track, "State of Grace" and the legendary ballads, "Open Arms" and "Faithfully." A soaring, guitar-driven cut off Journey's new EP, RED 13, "State of Grace" was well received from a mixed crowd of both young and old, with many remarking how the new song reminded them of Journey's early days and progressive-rock tendencies.

Augeri, who replaced the iconic Steve Perry in 1998, after Perry was unable to tour due to a hip injury, impressed the crowd with his stage presence and demeanor. Along with Castronovo (who took over drumming duties for Steve Smith the same year), the band displayed an electric chemistry with its newest members, most notably during the interplay on "Chain Reaction" and "Anytime."

While Journey may not draw the arena-sized crowds it did in the 1980s, the infusion of Augeri and Castronovo has revitalized a group that many feel has written the soundtrack to their lives. If the New York show was any indication, Journey hasn't written the final verse just yet.

July 27, 2002
Brookhaven Amphitheater at Bald Hill
Farmingville, N.Y.

- Brian Heaton

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in 2002.

Copyright 2009, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.