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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Don't Stop Believin'
Everyman's Journey


Starring: Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain, Deen Castronovo and Arnel Pineda
Distributor: Kaleidoscope
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 30 June 2014

Directed, written and produced by award-winning Filipino-American documentary filmmaker Ramona S Diaz, this film tells the real life rock-n-roll fairytale story of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from obscurity to become the front man for American rock band, Journey. Fired from his job as a cover band singer in Hong Kong, Pineda had little hope for the future. That was until Journey saw an Internet video of Pineda's band and decided to give him a shot at becoming their new lead singer. This is the incredible rags to rock star story of a man destined for greater things...

Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey is an interesting documentary that examines American rock band Journey and their latest lead singer Filipino Arnel Pineda, and how he came to the attention of the band.

Back in the '80s, thanks to an old school friend, I got into several American rock bands, including Boston and Journey. Journey formed the soundtrack to a lot of my teenage years. I grew up, left them behind and pretty much forgot about them. Every now and then I'd hear a Journey song on the radio and get nostalgic for my youth, but other than that I hadn't followed the band and while I was aware that lead singer Steve Perry had left, I didn't know that they were still touring as a band.

In 2013 that same old friend that introduced me to Journey, was given two tickets through his work to see Journey, Whitesnake and Thunder at Wembley Arena, London. I was surprised that they were still touring, and even more surprised to learn that Perry's shoes had been filled by a much younger Filipino singer. And that's pretty much all I knew when I arrived at the gig.

To my surprise Arnel Pineda's voice sounded almost identical to Perry's. In fact, if you closed your eyes it could almost be him up there on stage. Now I listened to some of those '80s albums until I wore them out, so I pretty much knew the songs inside out and Pineda's voice almost convinced me I was listening to Perry. I got home, and while I was blown away with how impressive this new Journey was at putting on a live show, I didn't do what I promised myself I was going to, and visit iTunes to pick up all the Journey albums I was missing. Instead I went back to listening to other music and quickly forgot about them.

Then this Blu-ray disc arrived on my desk for review. It charts the story of Pineda's amazing discovery and shows the band on tour. What it does, it does well, but when you strip it down there's not really much of a story here. Filipino lad from a poor background is discovered and goes on to front one of American's biggest rock bands.

What writer/director Ramona S Diaz has done, however, is cleverly break this story up so that it becomes so much more than a discovery tale. So we start off with a look at the band on tour, with the founding members talking us through how Pineda was discovered. Then we get a segment on the founding of Journey, and the hole that was left with the departure of Perry. How Steve Augeri had to leave the band due to recurring vocal problems that left him unable to sing. Then we're back with Pineda and we visit the leg of Journey's tour where they visit Thailand and Pineda takes the band around a few of his old haunts.

The film lasts for 1 hr, 45 min, 06 sec and contains a couple of extras in the form of Trailer (2 min, 01 sec) and Deleted Scenes (12 min, 03 sec - which are mostly from the Thailand gig).

This is a well produced and entertaining documentary that's well worth picking up if your an old or new fan of the group.


Darren Rea

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