In the ’80s (yes, I was in junior high then), Steve Perry and Journey were on MTV practically every half hour. I know because I would keep vigil of the then-new all-music video channel, hoping one of Duran Duran‘s videos would air. (For those of you too young to know, think Duran Duran = NKOTB = Justin Bieber.) Back then, my adolescent taste in music had one criterion: how cute was the lead singer? Not amazing talent, not heart-wrenching lyrics, not a soaring, plaintive wail of a vocal. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan of Journey.
That is, until Glee made that iconic Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” hip again. Now, I can’t stop inserting Journey songs into our noraebang (karaoke song room) queue. In fact, it only took 30 years for me to be able to look back on my junior high years with any semblance of fondness. So I was excited when I found out Journey was performing on the Today Show plaza yesterday. (Yeah, I know. I’m now that old fogey.) But instead of Steve Perry wailing “Street lights people living just to find emotion,” it was Filipino American Arnel Pineda. I mean, he’s no Steve Perry, but he’s pretty damn good.
And just think: if an Asian American had headed one of the hottest bands when I was in junior high. What a different world I would have grown up in.
Check out the Today Show performance below.