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35 Years Ago: Journey Mark the End of an Era on Double Live Album, ‘Captured’

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Journey‘s second era ended with a show-of-force concert album that pointed to every platinum success that awaited them. At the same time, they said goodbye to a key early figure in their formation and history.

Over their previous three studio projects, each featuring longtime singer Gregg Rolie and the newly recruited Steve Perry, Journey had steadily built its resume as stadium-filling superstars on the rise. Infinity, Evolution and Departure each went triple platinum, and the band scored its first trio of Top 40 hits (1979’s “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” and 1980’s “Any Way You Want It” and “Walks Like a Lady”).

Captured, a double album released in February 1981, showcased how far Journey had come since their pre-Perry, prog-informed days, adding yet another Top 40 hit in the form of “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love).” But by then Rolie – who’d co-founded Journey with fellow Santana alum Neal Schon – was gone. “The Party’s Over,” a studio song tacked onto the end of Captured, even featured Geoff Workman as the group’s interim keyboardist. (Workman had produced Departure after Journey split with his old boss, producer Roy Thomas Baker.)

“When Steve Perry entered the band, I welcomed it,” Rolie once said. “I was spread pretty thin, playing three or four keyboards, harmonica and singing lead. I thought this would be good, and we started writing songs in a different way. After I left, it became more pop rock. It was a little heavier when I was in it.”

Long before Rolie moved toward the exits, however, his central role in the band had already diminished. Just four songs he’d co-written appeared on the 17-track Captured, which was recorded during tour stops at Montreal, Tokyo and Detroit in 1980. Rolie composed all but a handful of songs on Journey’s first three LPs between 1975-77 – but none of those songs were included on the live record, even though “Of a Lifetime” (and the instrumental “Kohoutek”) from Journey’s self-titled debut were part of 1980’s set lists.

Listen to Journey Perform ‘Do You Recall’

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“That incarnation had a particular sense of groove that was very deep — a deep pocket and a settled feel,” drummer Steve Smith recalled. “Gregg Rolie particularly added to that, because he was essentially a Hammond B-3 player coming out of a blues tradition and background and, of course, he was a mainstay in the original Santana. He brought a nice groove sense to the group. … That particular incarnation of the band had a nice character that I really enjoyed. After that, things progressed in a more pop direction.”

Captured is the exact line between those two eras. Rolie’s turns were limited to shared vocals with Perry on “Just the Same Way” and “Feeling That Way” / “Anytime.” A leading creative force in their early days, Rolie was being eased out. But he was fine with that. “I left because I wanted to start a family,” he said. “I didn’t touch an instrument for two years. I’d been on the road for 14 years, and built two bands. I had just had my fill of it, and I wanted to change my life. So I made an effort to do so. When I think about it now, the family that I have might be my best accomplishment.”

In the meantime, Journey still possessed all of their early improvisational chops, as heard on “Walks Like a Lady,” which Rolie and Schon stretch out into a greasy groove that would have made former collaborator Carlos Santana proud. All the early hits (including “Lights,” and “Wheel in the Sky”) are here too. But so is “Do You Recall,” a Perry/Rolie co-write from 1979’s Evolution that moves from rumbling rocker to soaring anthem and back – embodying everything their relatively brief period together had been. And Schon is simply torrid on “Line of Fire.”

As Captured and that earlier era receded in Journey’s rear-view, things shifted forever. Up until this point, Journey had showed some hit-making promise, but had yet to smooth out some of their rougher edges. Workman would be permanently replaced by Jonathan Cain, who played in one of Journey’s opening acts, the Babys. Together with Perry and Schon, he’d help hurtle a more ballad-oriented Journey to superstar status over the next six years.

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