Journey’s Los Feliz show Tuesday was all about fond memories for the gathered fans, specifically 1980s high school romances. But this nostalgia fest was different from most similar events because of a missing key bandmember — glass-breaker Steve Perry, who has been replaced by what could be called his stylistic clone.
From a distance, former Tall Stories singer Steve Augeri looks a lot like the older Perry, and his voice is a near-dead ringer for the high-pitched Perry’s. So when the band played its many old hits, it was almost — almost — as good as if the original were on board.
Indeed, Augeri’s voice lacked the power and strength of Perry’s, and it began to wilt and crack around the middle of the 105-minute production, the first of two Greek sellouts for the Bay Area group. (If Perry were still in the group the show probably would have been held at a much bigger venue, such as Staples Center.)
Musically, Journey has seldom sounded better. Reflecting a newly found band harmony, the players — founding guitarist Neal Schon, longtime bassist Ross Valory, keyboard player Jonathan Cain and ex-Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo — were all smiles throughout the evening, and they appeared caught up in the fans’ ample enthusiasm, a far cry from the well-documented tumult of past tours.
Most of the biggest and best old faves were offered — opener “Anyway You Want It,” the 1978 ballad “Lights,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” the heartfelt “Faithfully,” rocker “Wheel in the Sky” — as well as the group’s 1996 top 20 hit “When You Love a Woman.” Journey also played three inconsequential new songs from its uninspired new “Arrival” (Columbia) collection, only one of which features lyrics written by Augeri.
A well-received encore boasted two of Journey’s most enduring anthems, 1983’s “Separate Ways” and 1979’s “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”
Following an opening turn by John Waite, the former singer for the Babys, veteran guitarist-vocalist Peter Frampton played 75 minutes of his party-time rock ‘n’ roll, highlighted, of course, by the timeless trio of tracks that fueled the popularity of his classic “Frampton Comes Alive” album: “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do” and “Show Me the Way.”