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‘Don’t Stop Believin'”: The Journey Documentary, Reviewed

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Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Arnel Pineda of Journey/photo credit: Craig Barritt, Getty Images

Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Arnel Pineda of Journey/photo credit: Craig Barritt, Getty Images

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the front man for Journey.

The film starts with Journey guitarist Neal Schon recounting scouring the internet looking for singers. He eventually saw Arnel singing in a cover band on YouTube and was blown away by what he saw and heard. Schon emailed Pineda to see if he would be interested in coming to California to audition for Journey. When Pineda arrived for the audition, as shown in the film, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain was not impressed, but by the third day of rehearsals, he was convinced Arnel was the ideal new frontman for the group.

Although Arnel could sing Journey’s tunes perfectly, the band was worried about his abilities as an on stage entertainer. Before their first show with Pineda, Arnel was extremely nervous but adrenaline kicked in and, as seen in the film, he turned out to be a monster performer on stage. Drummer Deen Castronovo described him as David Lee Roth meets Bruce Lee.

The documentary also looks at Pineda’s poor upbringing in the Philippines where he left home at the age of 14 and was homeless on the streets. By 1981, Arnel was singing in bands and doing Journey covers. There is video footage of Pineda singing Journey songs with a band in what appears to be the mid 80’s. After bouts with troubled relationships, drugs, and alcohol, Arnel was ready to give up being in the music business when his dream came true after receiving the email from Schon.

The documentary follows Journey’s entire first tour with Pineda, which shows the band returning to its former glory and selling out shows nationwide. The tour eventually hits Arnel’s hometown of Manila where they play to a huge audience and he is welcomed home as a hero. This is a great rock and roll story that will renew your love of Journey’s music and long history. The documentary is currently available for download on ITunes, as well as airing On Demand. Check the film’s official website for more info about where and when to see the film.

-Roberto Boschian, 104.3 WOMC

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