By now, you're probably already familiar with the backstory behind Arnel Pineda's journey to Journey. (Sorry!) For those of you who don't know it, the short version is that the band discovered the Filipino singer after watching footage of him on YouTube belting out Journey songs with a cover band. Joining the band in 2007, Pineda had a huge homecoming show fronting the AOR gods on March 14, 2009 when the group headlined a show at the SM Mall of Asia in Manila.
Live in Manila was originally released a few years back, but the concert film is now being reissued in North America as a DVD + double-CD or a Blu-ray + double-CD. The show certainly carries the kind of excitement an occasion like it warrants. Directed and edited by Eli Tishberg, the film offers a ton of different camera angles that capture the key musical moments in the setlist.
Journey busts out the hits throughout the concert. "Separate Ways," "Faithfully," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Lights" all make the cut, but it's also a treat to see deeper cuts like "Edge of the Blade" and "Still They Ride" getting some action.
The night belongs to Pineda, not just in spirit, but also when it comes to his vocal performance. The singer expertly handles the Steve Perry-heavy setlist and his own material with the same level of power and passion. It's also terrific to see his home crowd sing along and pump their fists in the air whenever Pineda hugs the edge of the stage. Who could have dreamed up a better rock 'n' roll homecoming than this?