Before I had a chance to screen Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, I'd heard rumors: It's corny. It's silly. It's hagiographic.
Yes, it's corny and silly. Hagiographic…have these people criticizing Don't Stop Believin' ever listened to Journey? You don't write blatantly anthemic stadium rock without the kinds of personalities that lend themselves to self-sainthood.
So, really, who cares whether this documentary about taking on new singer Arnel Pineda is a little goofy? Any band that drops its (kinda goofy) jam-band/prog-rock origins and hires Steve Perry as a way to generate hit singles in the late 1970s long ago surrendered its ability or desire to be criticized.
Journey is as Journey does.
And here Journey does what Journey does, which is blow up stadiums. Huge drums, huge guitar riffs, tight harmonies and a big, boisterous, Steve Perry-rivaling voice that comes from new frontman Pineda.
If you're given to Journey's aesthetic, what's not to love?
Don't Stop Believin' is for die-hard fans, and maybe casual fans who can forget the "Separate Ways" video and focus on the song's ridiculously forceful bombast.
Neil Schon shreds, Pineda wails and keyboardist Jonathan Cain seems like a jerk, but this is a big train to run. Someone has to be the muscle.
DON'T STOP BELIEVIN': EVERYMAN'S JOURNEY
Directed by Ramona S Diaz
With Arnel Pineda, Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain