Neal Schon Plans to Shake Up Journey’s Set List for Summer Tour: ‘People Want to See the Jams’
Speaking with the Arizona Republic about what concertgoers can expect from the group's upcoming tour, Schon said he "wrote a really cool letter" to his bandmates urging them to "open the mind and bring it" by digging into their catalog and hauling out some unexpected deep cuts to surround the "five or six" hits they have to perform.
"You don’t have to keep playing songs just because they’re commercial," noted Schon. "Times are changing. People want to see the jams. And we know how to jam very well."
Asked to name some specific songs he'd want to see in the set list, Schon laughed that he's looking to add "anything uptempo" — and credited the return of drummer Steve Smith with making it possible to recapture the flavor of some of the band's biggest records.
"He did Evolution, Departure, Escape. But it’ll be fun to go back to some of that material. I’d like to play some of that stuff that’s on our Captured record," said Schon. "There’s a lot of uptempo songs on that record, not only because we played everything too fast. There was a bluesier side like 'Walks Like a Lady' that goes into a hardcore slamming blues-shuffle jam at the end. We could definitely do something with that. There’s 'Line of Fire,' 'Dixie Highway,' other songs that were obscure songs on our records. The hits sound better when you mix them up with the progressive side of Journey."
Calling Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain "the premier ballad writer," Schon name-checked slower hits like "Lights," "Faithfully" and "Open Arms" as good candidates to remain part of their concerts, but reiterated that he'd like to increase the tempo of the show. "We already have hit ballads that we have to play. Otherwise, fans, they get pissed," he admitted. "But you can only have so many slow songs in a set. Otherwise, I feel like we put people to sleep. As well as myself. I certainly don’t want to go to sleep onstage."
Journey Albums Ranked Worst to Best