LIVE at Greensboro Coliseum
The Freedom Tour
February 15, 2023 Review M.B. Edwards
Journey is lucky in that they are not only celebrating their 50th anniversary, but they are still putting out legendary music, as is the case of the “Freedom” album and the reason for their tour with another legendary band, Toto.

Recently, the Greensboro Coliseum hosted two large events last night, and while it was easy to accidently get in the wrong entry line, you soon realized there was a distinct difference in the type of attendees at the Journey Freedom 2023 Tour versus Rockzilla. Fans showed up early and spent time wandering the venue, grabbing a drink or two, and getting their merch on inside the nearly sold out stadium.


Greensboro, North Carolina

February 11, 2023

Toto came out and jumped straight into their first song, “Afraid of Love,” to the screams of their loyal fans. In a blink of an eye, they segued into their monster hit, “Hold the Line.” Their fans immediately lost their minds.
Performing onstage tonight were Steve Lukather (lead guitar), Joseph Williams (vocals) with guests Dominique “Xavier” Taplin (keyboards), Steve Maggiora (keyboards), Warren Ham (multi-instrumentalist), John Pierce (bassist) Robert “Sput” Searight (drummer). David Paich is still unable to perform due to medical reasons.

Their next song, “I’ll Be Over You,” was dedicated to all the beautiful girls in the audience. The guitars squealed with pin-point accuracy at the end of “Love Me White Sister” just before Toto flew into “Georgy Porgy.” The last half of their set was phenomenal and really got the crowd amped up. “Home of the Brave” led into a beautiful cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which actually sounded more like the Joe Cocker version. “Rosanna” had the crowd standing and singing along, and with true Toto fashion, they closed the night out with the iconic song, “Africa,” while thousands of phone lights shone towards the stage.

Toto Live | Photo by Richard Thigpen
During their set, Toto was all over the stage, sharing the love and truly enjoying playing the music they created over 40 years ago that made them one of the best-selling groups of their era. They did not disappoint their fans, in fact, those in the crowd would have been happy to hear a few more songs.
It’s quite fitting that Toto are opening for Journey as the two rock families have been joined together in sweet music matrimony. During the night, both Jonathan Cain of Journey and Steve Lukather of Toto spoke about the recent marriage of Madison, Cain’s daughter, and Trev, the son of Lukather, which took place this past December in Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon. During the show, Cain stated the two newlyweds actually met a one of their concerts. You can tell both sides are extremely pleased and wish the happy couple a long and healthy marriage.

It didn’t seem like it took the crew very long to get the stage ready for Journey. Then it happened, the Coliseum darkened, the Journey logo gradually appeared on the back wall of the stage, the band started playing a light melody with different images transpiring on the back screen. Neal Schon was on guitar, Jonathan Cain was playing piano and keyboards, Deen Castronovo was on the drums, Jason Derlatka was on keyboards, and Todd Jensen was playing bass. Arnel Pineda finally came out, the crowd screamed, and the band started playing “Only the Young.”

Journey Live | Photo by Richard Thigpen
Pineda could be a juggler the way he throws the microphone in the air, making it do flips before effortlessly catching it. Even the microphone stand didn’t stand a chance. It was constantly being grabbed and hoisted into the air, spun around, and pointed at people in the crowd when Pineda got near it.
One thing is certain: Pineda, who has shown he can hold his own (vocally speaking) against Steve Perry, gets his cardio in during each show. He’s constantly running from one end of the stage to the next, doing kicks, jumping up on platforms, and really making a connection with the fans in the coliseum by reciprocating their love whether it’s by touching their hand, making a heart shape with his fingers, or pointing and gesturing to them.
There was an E.T. moment as Pineda and a woman in the audience slowly touched fingertips. It’s likely extremely hard to constantly be compared to Perry, but it’s clear that while Journey fans primarily come to hear the iconic music they grew up listening to (or, for the newer fans, the classic hits), it’s the show Pineda gives that truly makes the experience memorable.

Journey Live | Photo by Richard Thigpen
After “Only the Young,” Schon performed his first guitar solo of the night. Schon is beyond talented; the ballads he can create and the emotions they entice as he switches rhythms transports you on an impressive, musical voyage. After “Stone in Love,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” soared through the sound system just slightly louder than what the audience was giving back. “Lights,” “Send Her My Love,” and “Escape” were played next.
“Who’s Crying Now” came before “Let It Rain,” which is part of the “Freedom” album. Cain’s piano solo took place after “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin.’” Cain’s uncanny ability to tell a cinematic story through the piano leaves you in awe-inspiring wonder. He transitioned from his beautiful and complex solo into “Open Arms.” The solo he performed helped set the mood to this more romantic song about lovers coming back together even stronger than before they drifted apart. Keeping with the current theme, “Faithfully” was spectacularly rendered.

Journey Live | Photo by Richard Thigpen
Things took a new pace as Schon put on his second, and final, guitar solo of the night. Everyone on stage, except Schon, went and sat behind the drum set up for a much-needed break and bonding moment. I must admit, I was slightly distracted by the playfulness of Pineda as he interacts with his counterparts. Vocal leads changed as Derlatka sang “Wheel in the Sky.” The set ended with “Any Way You Want It.”
Fifty years is a huge milestone and one you can’t go without celebrating. During the last portion of the last song, Pineda quickly grabbed his phone and recorded as streamers and paper confetti shot to the ceiling and covered the coliseum in a cloud of white and gold. The paper slowly made its way back down as members of the band introduced each other more formally. Pineda, who was still recording, said, “Thank you so much for accepting me.” They all formed a line, with their hands on each other’s shoulders and backs, and gracefully bowed out. No encore was given. They left as elegantly as they appeared.



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