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Journey Unauthorized offers musical escape at Auburn Avenue Theater
If you came of age in the late ’70s or early ’80s, there is a pretty good chance the soundtrack to your first crush, first dance or first kiss came courtesy of the rock band Journey.
So prevalent was the band’s radio-friendly, musical mix of hard rock balladry that there was simply no escape from the tunes, whether on the radio, on MTV or at a junior high school dance.
On Friday and Saturday those who never stopped believing, as well as those new to the music of the band, will get a chance to experience the songs of Journey faithfully recreated on stage at the Auburn Avenue Theater by tribute band Journey Unauthorized.
According to lead singer Perry Stevens, who plays the role of original Journey vocalist Steve Perry, Journey Unauthorized formed in 2007.
“We started this because we love the music,” Stevens said. “We all grew up in the Bay Area (where Journey was from) and we all loved the music, so there is a lot of attachment for us.”
Although the majority of the songs covered by Journey Unauthorized – which concentrates on the music created by Journey during the Steve Perry-era in the 1970s and 1980s – originated more than 30 years ago, the songs have exhibited staying power, still resonating with fans old and new, Stevens said.
“The songs are so well crafted and put together. Everything, the production the arrangements and the musicianship, were excellent. Steve Perry was just a brilliant singer, and Neil Schon was way ahead of his time as a guitarist.”
Stevens said he first became a fan of the band after seeing it live.
“I could not believe my ears, it was just the band really singing,” Stevens said. “There were no backing tracks or recordings, it was unbelievable. It’s still one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.”
It’s a performance the top-class group of musicians in Journey Unauthorized – which includes Stevens on vocals, Ray Potter on keyboards and backing vocals, Damion Mantle on guitar, Jimmy Wells on drums and bassist Dave Matthews – strive to recreate.
Stevens conceded that most of the fans who come to the shows are longtime Journey fans but said they also get new fans of the music.
“On the average we get people around 40 years old at the shows,” he said. “But we get young musicians that are into the music as well. Sometimes when I look out, it’s 40- and 50-year-olds with their kids.”
Journey Unauthorized hits the stage at the Ave at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors. Call Auburn Parks, Arts and Recreation at 253-931-3043 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com for tickets.