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Journey - 1979 Evolution



ARTIST: Journey
ALBUM: Evolution
LABEL: CBS
SERIAL: FC 35797
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1990, Columbia, CK 35797 * 2006, Legacy, 82876 85891 2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Perry - lead and backing vocals * Neal Schon - guitars, backing vocals * Gregg Rolie - keyboards, lead and backing vocals * Ross Valory - bass, backing vocals * Steve Smith - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Majestic * 02 Too Late * 03 Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' * 04 City Of The Angels * 05 When You're Alone (It Ain't Easy) * 06 Sweet And Simple * 07 Lovin' You Is Easy * 08 Just The Same Way * 09 Do You Recall * 10 Daydream * 11 Lady Luck

WEBLINKS: www.journeymusic.com


Background
Journey's 1979 album 'Evolution' is a changing of the guard in a number of ways. The band, who are veritable superstars at this site, presented an album a year after their breakthrough commercial LP 'Infinity' featuring (then) new singer Steve Perry. That album, a favourite of yours truly, was a completely different kettle of fish from their triumvirate of prog flavoured albums between 1975 and 1977. It set the band on a new course with a new skipper at the helm, and 'Evolution' was the second release on their winds of change. Drummer Aynsley Dunbar had departed to Jefferson Starship, replaced by jazz understudy Steve Smith, this lineup of the band would stay intact until 1981's mega successful 'Escape' album when Jonathan Cain would replace Gregg Rolie. The interesting feature about 'Evolution' is that it would move Journey even further into commercial territory, away from the heavy prog leanings of their earlier efforts, though the last track 'Lady Luck' is proof that Schon and Rolie weren't completely prepared to throw away three years of hard work to the whims of Herbie Herbert and CBS.


The Songs
For the most part, the tracks are a perfect example of what AOR in the year 1979 was all about. Only Boston, Foreigner and REO Speedwagon could put up anything half decent in the genre, while bands such as Styx paled, though still charting high in the Billboard Charts on the back of their 'Cornerstone' LP. At 38 minutes, Journey deliver 11 tracks, all listenable, and reminding me of what my senior high school years were all about! In my opinion, there's not really a dud track here. The album should be listened to as a complete segue from track 1 to 11. My favourites include the utterly brilliant 'Daydream', the fiery Neal Schon guitar solo at the end is killer! .. shining in the silver moon, crystal ships are sailing in the sea.'.. Very ethereal. Then there's the piano stomp of 'Just The Same Way', with Gregg Rolie on lead vocal. I enjoyed the simplicity of 'Sweet And Simple', again Schon let's loose with a cannon load of guitar fodder toward the end. Of course we can't forget the Na Na na na Na's of 'Lovin Touchin Squeezin', an anthem of unholy remembrance during 1979. Great stuff! Of course, it segues directly into another killer track from the Journey back catalog; 'City Of The Angels', all songs that strike a chord with my teenage years, no doubt it will do likewise with other readers here.


In Summary
'Evolution' would consolidate Journey's reputation through that year and into 1980, where 'Departure' would act as a springboard for future success. The band toured heavily through this part of their career, not just North America, but also Japan and other locations. I feel 'Evolution' is a much forgotten part of the band's discography, and deserves kudos alongside their other much more popular albums.


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Comments
#1 | Eric on December 31 2009 15:22:52
Saw this tour in NYC- one of the best and loudest shows I've seen and remember it like yesterday. Now here's a question for debate- were Perry's vocals sped up on certain tracks? I have it on good authority-they were.
#2 | Eric on January 01 2010 00:17:06
Here's a kick ass photo from the 'Evolution' tour at the Milwaukee, Wisconsin date:

[img]http://www.backstagegallery.com/photos/RK/3318/Journey-pictures-1979-RK-3318-001-l.jpg[/img] is not a valid Image.

Some other memories of the 'Evolution' concert at the Palladium in New York on that hot June night... Sweet opened and I was already hyped up (and sweaty!) because of that, but the house lights turned off and the first chords of 'Majestic'(tapped) rang out, but this was an extended version that I wish now I had a copy of. A curtain opened at the top of the stage showing the band on a platform directly over the back line holding hands raised up as if they just won a football game. Of course the crowd went nuts as the band walked/ ran down a large temporary staircase which was removed by the roadies after the band hit the stage which again darkened until they took thier places.

My impression was that this was a stage built with Arenas and Large halls in mind which is a credit to Herbie Herbert's vision. About half of the 'Evolution' tour took place in big hockey rinks although New York and New England were one of the last areas of the U.S to embrace Journey. I witnessed this when in 1980 Journey played to a half empty Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

Back to '79... while the Palladium Theater filled about 3,500, Journey played as if it we were sitting at the Rose Bowl or the biggest stadium on the planet. A taste of things to come.

Of all the concerts I've attended, just 2 or 3 stand up to Journey in 1979 one of the best shows I've ever seen.
#3 | richardb on July 23 2010 22:40:02
Don't know why this album doesn't get the kudos it deserves as it's consistently excellent throughout. "Lady luck" is the standout for me - a superb piece of "Wimphem"

Richard B

music

Richard B
#4 | sabace on June 21 2012 12:21:53
good stuff yet again although not as good as infinity . I prefer the live versions of these tracks, everything seems pedestrian here!
#5 | super80boy on July 12 2015 16:29:40
In the official Columbia press bio, they mention that Evolution adds a more driving rock sound, continuing what Infinity started. Other notable mentions, both Ross Valory and Neal Schon won 'Bammie' awards for best bass and guitar players of the year respectively. They also talk about a new stage show that Infinity will employ on the road.
 
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