Journey band members reflect on special connection to Hawaii

Journey is back in Honolulu.

On Thursday, the band played the first of three shows at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.

Before they went on stage, we had a chance to talk story with some of the band members.

“What’s there not to love about it? Hawaii is paradise,” said guitarist Neal Schon. “We played our first show as Journey on New Year’s Eve of 1972 and then we flew over, took a red eye and played New Year’s Day at the (Diamond Head) Crater Festival, and so it’s been a long great relationship with everybody from the island here.”

People in Hawaii have welcomed Journey back year after year with open arms, and faithfully supported them.

journey-neal-schon

“Every band has a town, an affinity for, and I think the Hawaiian people resonate to Journey and I think we’re blessed because of it,” said keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

“It’s a great rock audience. They like to party,” said bass player Ross Valory.

“They don’t hold back, and they’re very excited and enthusiastic to see a band from the mainland who cares to come here and since the Tom Moffatt days, right?” Cain said.

“Yeah, God bless Tom,” Valory said.

“We’re going to miss him. We were seeing him a couple years ago and heard he passed away, so we have a soft spot in our heart for Hawaii,” Cain said.

Journey now has four of the five original band members. The fifth member, frontman Arnel Pineda, has been with the band for 10 years now.

“I’m so happy that I found Arnel and things have worked out so well, because we’ve helped him and his family have a new life,” Schon said. “I wasn’t aware when I found him on YouTube that he was homeless at the time, and had no money and kids and a wife, and when I went there and saw where he was living before he got in the band, I was just — the tears just rolled down and I was like this is an amazing story for real.”

Pineda wasn’t available for an interview, likely saving his pipes for the show.

It’s been a long journey for the band, with a tour all over Asia that ends here in Hawaii.

“We’re so thankful that the people of Honolulu have stepped up and come to see us and once again, you will not be disappointed. Thanks very much,” Cain said.

Journey will be hitting the stage Friday night, then again on Sunday.

journey-ross-valory-and-jonathan-cain

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