Gregg Rolie - vocals, keyboards; Neal Schon - guitars, vocals; George Tickner - rhythm guitar; Ross Valory - bass, vocals; Aynsley Dunbar - drums
This is among the earliest known professional recordings of Journey, from long before it ascended to the top of the AOR radio charts with a long string of FM hits. The group had formed six months earlier when young guitar superstar Neil Schon decided to form his own group after departing Santana in 1972. He eventually convinced singer/keyboardist Gregg Rolie to follow suit, making Journey the Bay Area's first handpicked supergroup. Also on board were bassist Ross Valory (best known for his role in the artsy psychedelic band Frumious Bandersnatch) and drummer extraordinaire Aynsley Dunbar, who had spent the previous few years working with Frank Zappa and David Bowie (during the Diamond Dogs period). Dunbar was a new addition, since the band's original drummer, Prairie Prince, had left to form a new group—The Tubes.
Although the band (whose name was picked as the result of a listener contest on KSAN-FM) would spring into its most lucrative popularity after the fourth album, Infinity, was made with new vocalist Steven Perry in 1978, this recording shows a musical group searching to find its place in the burgeoning rock marketplace.
The material here appeared on the band's debut Columbia Records album, and appears to be more of a marriage of progressive rock and jazz fusion than the pop-driven hard rock format that it would later embrace with Perry.
The Journey heard here was more about musical acrobatics and frantic solos than it is about melodies and well constructed rhythms. That skill would come later, after Perry joined, Tickner departed, and Dunbar, who had bolted to join Jefferson Starship, was replaced by Steve Smith.
The hit making version of the band would remain together until 1987. Today, Schon and Valory remain in a version of the band that has virtually no musical connection to the band recorded for this show.
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