Gig review: Journey/Foreigner/Styx


THIS was a beast of a bill, teaming three anachronistic US soft-rock titans from the 1970s and 80s. Styx set the bar high for entertaining ludicrousness by attacking their opening slot as if they were the headliners, wasting no time in getting feet on monitors, shaggy hair billowing, keyboards rotating on podiums and indulging in formation guitar posing. The least familiar act on the bill, they occupy the proggier end of the spectrum, but were not averse to throwing metal, pomp and overwrought balladry into the mix, combined like a dog's breakfast on Miss America.

There were no laughs to be had from Foreigner, just an efficient, streamlined dispatch of AOR material and glorified screensavers on the backdrop. Fortunately, these guys have standout tracks in their repertoire – the classic rocker Cold As Ice, angsty power ballad Waiting For A Girl Like You and the cathartic lighter-waving anthem I Want To Know What Love Is – which are totems of the soft rock canon.

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For wall-to-wall fist-pumping anthems, Journey were the big boys here, even if current lead singer Arnel Pineda, their slip of a Filipino frontman, looked like a 21st-century boy playing with dinosaurs, and trying not to be crushed in the stampede.

As the set progressed, he proved his chops – in a rare concession to modernity, the band recruited him after hearing him cover their songs on YouTube – though he lacked the stage presence to really inhabit some of these behemoths.

New tracks City of Hope and the sturdy Chain of Love compared well to their back catalogue but monster ballad Open Arms and the mighty, celebratory Don't Stop Believin' ultimately ruled the roost.