After 30 years, Journey could easily rest on its laurels by playing only its most well-known hits. But on Wednesday night at Wolf Trap, the group balanced its old familiar songs with tracks from a new album, "Generations," due out next month.
In fact, Journey seems so revitalized that even its old hits weren't just played by the numbers, thanks in large part to current singer Steve Augeri. He did sound a lot like longtime Journey frontman Steve Perry (and, oddly, looked a lot like former Creed leader Scott Stapp), and while at times he couldn't muster Perry's power, his earnest delivery gave the songs a surprising freshness.
The other members of Journey did their best to match Augeri's formidable presence.
Early on, lead guitarist (and band co-founder) Neal Schon blazed through a Hendrix-esque version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." And throughout the two-hour set, each member of the band sang lead vocals at least once -- even drummer Deen Castronovo.
Bassist Ross Valory, the only other remaining member from the band's original lineup, took on the furious "Gone Crazy" (reminiscent of Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher"), while keyboardist Jonathan Cain crooned "Every Generation," a feel-good rocker about leaving the world a better place for future generations.
But the audience's seated reaction to the new songs made their preferences clear. Their shouted singalong on "Don't Stop Believin' " and the sea of lighters waving on "Faithfully" indicated that Journey can keep playing these songs for the next 30 years.
-- Catherine P. Lewis