08:50 - 22nd August 2014, by Calum Waddell

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

Formed in 1973, Journey became a massive American stadium rock band thanks to such mega-hits as Don’t Stop Believin’ and Open Arms. They also had an influential and orally adept lead singer in Steve Perry. Although never as celebrated in the UK, the guitar-group maintains a following of fans worldwide – and, in recent years, they have experienced a revolving door of vocalists. In 1998, Perry quit the group and was replaced by someone called Steve Augeri – who lasted almost a decade. Come 2007 and the search was on for yet another frontman, although this time the job was taken by a Manila-based singer called Arnel Pineda. The musicians found some YouTube videos of Pineda and decided, on a whim, to email him and offer to fly the unassuming Filipino to Los Angeles for an audition (as you would).

Consequently, this documentary is something of a rag-to-riches tale. We revisit Pineda’s home city, and the impoverished district of the Philippines’ capital that he was raised in. The singer speaks about how he and his family were once homeless and, of course, such stories of being penniless are intercut with stadium rock shows across America. There is something slightly offensive about the assumption that, were it not for the super-rich Journey band members, Pineda might still be struggling in a third world hellhole (Manila has plenty of wealthy districts), but his story is still invigorating. Ending with Journey ‘coming home’ to the Philippines for a sold-out stint in a Manila stadium, this is a very well constructed look at a strange rock ‘n’ roll resurrection.

An everyman’s account of unexpected stardom: the American dream but with a twist of Southeast Asian identity…
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