The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Holding onto that feeling: Journey’s Freedom Tour

Courtesy image.

A golden scarab beetle flashes across a backdrop of moving time and space. The crowd roars as six figures covered in leather and animal print take the stage — Journey, straight out of the 1980s.

Their performance at New Mexico State University’s Pan American Center on March 21 was the band’s 21st stop on their Freedom Tour, which celebrates 50 years of Journey. The rock stars’ popularity hasn’t faded much since the days of blue mascara and big hair, with fans of all ages waiting in long lines before the show, ready to fill almost every available seat in the stadium.

Journey was joined on tour by TOTO, another iconic group formed in the 1970s. With nine songs on their setlist, the band created an exciting environment from the moment they stepped on stage to open the show. Each of the nine performers has enjoyed notable accolades throughout their career, from playing with other acclaimed musicians including Prince, Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift, to singing Hakuna Matata in Disney’s 1994 film “The Lion King” — a few bars of which were sung on stage.

Besides the Disney hit, “Hold the Line” and “Roseanna” were crowd favorites. By far, the most memorable of the opening set was the song TOTO is most well-known for —“Africa”. As red and green lights changed to the beat of the bongos, the sounds of both fans and the band singing filled the stadium as TOTO encouraged the crowd to harmonize with them.

As inspiring as the live performance of “Africa” was, the stadium lit up with excitement as the first few bars of Journey’s own set began. Formed in 1973, the band has undergone multiple lineup changes, with guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain the only remaining members of the “classic” Journey lineup. While lead singer Steve Perry left the band in 1998, a new singer was found in fan Arnel Pineda, whose voice sounds shockingly similar to Perry’s.

Despite these changes, the current members of Journey had undeniable chemistry. And although they may be older than they were in their classic “Separate Ways” music video, the band’s talent certainly hasn’t deserted them over time. Schon’s electrified guitar playing seemed to be sheer muscle memory, while Cain’s keyboard inspired fans to light up their phones.

More than that, it’s clear how much the members of Journey love playing their music. The cameras captured their constant smiles and pats on the back. After over 50 years of playing, it might make sense for the band to be a little tired. But the band members were full of energy and having just as much fun as the crowd was, jumping around and singing — they truly wanted to be on the PanAm stage (a fact that was further proven by Cain wearing an Aggies jersey later on in the set).

There was one song in particular that everyone seemed to be waiting for. Recently named “The Biggest Song of All Time” by Forbes, “Don’t Stop Believin’” had every fan in the stadium on their feet and singing about a small town girl. It’s clear why the song has remained so popular over 40 years after its release. Throughout the crowd, parents hugged their children, friends held hands, and the “rock on” symbol was silhouetted all across the audience.

As the show drew closer to the end, the energy level stayed high. While Journey launched into some of their most popular hits, “Wheel in the Sky” and “Be Good to Yourself”, each member of the band soloed. This gave Pineda time to run into the crowd and hug fans, give high-fives, and sign t-shirts, proving he hasn’t forgotten what it feels like to be a fan of Journey.

For the last song of the night, Journey gave their all to “Any Way You Want It” — each member laughing and singing along with the exhilarated crowd. As confetti exploded over the legendary band’s final bow, the feeling of fun that has stayed with Journey for 50 years remained.

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About the Contributor
Adeline Triplett
Adeline Triplett, Staff Writer
Adeline Triplett is starting her second year with The Round Up. She is a senior at NMSU, majoring in Journalism & Media Studies with a focus in print/editorial and a minor in International Studies. Adeline was raised in Farmington, New Mexico. She has always had a love of writing and reading due to growing up with parents who are teachers. Adeline began writing creatively in elementary school and has continued ever since. She discovered her passion for journalism in high school and hopes to make a positive impact with her stories. Outside of school and writing, Adeline enjoys spending time with friends and family, binging movies and shows, and traveling as much as possible. Moving forward, she hopes that working at The Round Up will help her grow as a writer and in her future career.

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