Frontiers In Tokyo (Calm & Storm 044)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – March 2, 1983
Disc 1: (56:26) Intro, Chain Reaction, Wheel In The Sky, Line Of Fire, Send Her My Love, Still They Ride, Open Arms, No More Lies, Back Talk, Keyboard Solo, Frontiers, Rubicon, Drum Solo, Edge Of The Blade
Disc 2: (67:07) Faithfully, Who’s Crying Now, Don’t Stop Believin’, Stone In Love, Keep On Running, Any Way You Want It, Escape, Separate Ways, After The Fall, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’, Lights, Don’t Fight It
FM Broadcast Recording
Disc 3: (49:43) Chain Reaction, Wheel In The Sky, Line Of Fire, Send Her My Love, Still They Ride, Open Arms, Keyboard Solo, Frontiers, Rubicon, Faithfully, Who’s Crying Now, Don’t Stop Believin’
Disc 4: (33:47) Stone In Love, Keep On Running, Any Way You Want It, Separate Ways, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’, Don’t Fight It, DJ Outro (Separate Ways)
Fresh from the Miracle Man tape archives, we have a couple of Journey titles on the Calm & Storm label. Frontiers In Tokyo features the March 2,1983 show from Budokan in Tokyo. It features a previously unreleased tape source for Journey’s second night at the venue. Like most Miracle Man tapes, it comes from a very good sounding but slightly distant audience recording. It tends to favor the upper frequencies but is very listenable and enjoyable. A radio broadcast and pro-shot video from this show have been released before in edited form so it is nice to finally have the missing parts of the show.
They hit the crowd right away with three high energy tracks that run together before Steve Perry addresses the crowd. The sound during “Chain Reaction” starts a bit rough but improves during “Wheel In The Sky”.
Perry thanks the crowd for inviting the band back for a second night at Budokan and says they want to play a song from the new record, Frontiers. “Send Her My Love” starts a trio of ballads from the Jonathan Cain era. Perry’s voice is flawless and Neal Schon’s guitar soloing was really cut out for these type of melodic songs. Not to mention his blazing(yet still melodic) solo in “Still They Ride”.
Following “Open Arms”, Perry announces the recent release of Neal Schon’s collaboration with Jan Hammer, Here To Stay. This was the second release from them and Neal takes the lead vocal on the LP’s opening track “No More Lies”. This runs non-stop with “Back Talk” from Frontiers. This is one of the very few writing contributions from drummer Steve Smith and has a heavy drum track with attitude.
Jonathan Cain’s futuristic sounding keyboard solo flows seamlessly into the new title track, “Frontiers”. The drum solo starts with some keyboard programming from Cain. Drum solos can sometimes be boring but certainly not with Steve Smith. Smith studied jazz at Berklee College of Music in Boston and is not only a technical wizard but can also lay down a groove like no other.
The second half of the show is dominated by hits both new and old. “Faithfully”, one of four top ten hits from the Frontiers record, reaching #12, was written about the “circus life” of a touring band. They move onto the Escape LP for some of their biggest songs to date. The first, “Who’s Crying Now”, features the enthusiastic audience clapping along in time and an incredible outro solo from Neal. The clapping continues, without total distraction, into “Don’t Stop Believin” which is now the most recognized Journey song ever thanks to the HBO series, The Soprano’s. Without hesitation, Schon starts ripping it up leading the rest of the band into “Stone In Love”. Both “Stone” and “Keep On Running” feature keyboardist Jonathan Cain on second guitar, adding a harder edge to their sound.
After “Separate Ways” the band leaves the stage and Miracle Man keeps the recorder running until they return. “After The Fall” is the first encore and Perry gets the crowd to chant “Tokyo is #1” before the start of the song. Steve Smith and Neal Schon jam for a few minutes during the transition into “Lovin, Touchin’, Squeezin”. They leave the stage again briefly and return for a second time to play a song about their hometown, “Lights”.
The final song of the night features the track “Don’t Fight It” written and recorded by Steve Perry and Kenny Loggins. The tape runs out about four minutes in where it switches to the broadcast for the final minute and a half.
Discs 3 and 4 feature the FM broadcast that was edited down for time restrictions. The broadcast omits “No More Lies”, “Back Talk”, the “Drum Solo”, “Edge Of The Blade”, “Escape”, “After The Fall”, a good portion of the “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin” jam and “Lights”.
The broadcast has been previously available on Distant Eyes (Gypsy Eye 173/174) which includes “After The Fall”. However, the sound quality doesn’t match for this track and after a quick comparison it appears Gypsy Eye spliced this in from the official Columbia release, Greatest Hits Live.
The broadcast sounds excellent with only two very minor problems. There is a tape crinkle in “Frontiers” and another during “Separate Ways”. They do go by quickly but are worth noting. Distant Eyes doesn’t have these problems and sounds a bit brighter while Frontiers In Tokyo is geared toward the lower frequencies and seems to have more depth. Both sound very good but in my opinion the Calm & Storm is a touch nicer sounding.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)