Watch: JOURNEY Co-Founder GREGG ROLIE Joins Band On Stage In Austin During 50th-Anniversary TourFebruary 23, 2023
JOURNEY co-founder Gregg Rolie rejoined the band on stage last night (Wednesday, February 22) in Austin, Texas.
Rolie came up during JOURNEY's encore at Moody Center ATX to play several cuts from his time with the band: "Just the Same Way" from 1979's "Evolution" album, "Of A Lifetime" from 1975's "Journey" and "Feeling That Way" and "Anytime" from 1978's "Infinity". Rolie, who was also the original lead singer of SANTANA, and JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon, who also played with SANTANA during the latter band's early days, then covered SANTANA's "Black Magic Woman" with help from guitarist Steve Lukather of TOTO, which is the support act on JOURNEY's 50th-anniversary tour. The JOURNEY performance ended with a rendition of "Any Way You Want It".
During his time on stage, Rolie told the crowd: "I just wanna say: Fifty years? Fifty years of one band going through changes, but it's like a runaway freight train that just keeps going with no brakes."
Rolie was JOURNEY's first singer, though his role quickly diminished when Steve Perry arrived in 1977. Gregg left JOURNEY in 1980, just before the band achieved its commercial heights.
Back in 2019, Rolie told Rolling Stone magazine that he left JOURNEY "because I didn't like my life anymore. I've said this a million times and I know there's people that say, 'That's not the reason.' But I left because I was unhappy with what I was doing in my own life. I loved the management. I loved the music. I loved what we built. I just wasn't happy, so I had to blow the horn on it and just stop it.”"
He continued: "Everyone thinks it was because Perry came in and started singing all the leads. My God! Again, I was spread so thin with all these keyboards parts and singing leads, he was a welcome sight to me. And he could sing like a bird! It wasn't too hard to figure out. I was never against it."
Rolie went on to say that he was drinking too much and that he wanted to start a family. He also said that he was happy about the fact that JOURNEY became a household name after he moved on. "I felt very proud that I helped to build something that went to that extreme," he said. "I've always felt that way. Yeah, without me doing this, that might never have happened. But it's not about me. It's about all of it. It's a misconception in this business of, ‘Who does what?' We all did something."
JOURNEY's tour with TOTO officially kicked off on February 4 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Presented by AEG Presents, the "Freedom Tour 2023" is making stops in Austin, Montreal and Memphis before wrapping April 25 at the brand-new Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, California.
The 2023 run includes rescheduled dates in Washington, D.C., plus Hartford, Toronto and Quebec, which were postponed last year due to the coronavirus.
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