Line Of Departure (Calm & Storm 043)
Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo, Japan – October 11, 1980
Disc 1: (57:53) Where Were You, Just The Same Way, Lovin’ You Is Easy, Too Late, Of A Lifetime, Kohoutek, People And Places, Precious Time, Lights, Stay Awhile, Dixie Highway, Homemade Love, Anytime
Disc 2: (42:15) Walks Like A Lady, Guitar Solo, La Do Da, Bass Solo, Drum Solo, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’, Wheel In The Sky, Any Way You Want It, I’m Cryin’, Line Of Fire
DVD: (Approx. 112 minutes) Where Were You, Just The Same Way, Lovin’ You Is Easy, Too Late, Of A Lifetime/Kohoutek, People And Places, Precious Time, Lights, Stay Awhile, Dixie Highway, Homemade Love, Anytime, Walks Like A Lady, Guitar Solo, La Do Da, Bass Solo, Drum Solo, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’, Wheel In The Sky, Any Way You Want It, I’m Cryin’, Line Of Fire, Outro
Line Of Departure from Calm & Storm pairs together a new audience source and pro-shot video of Journey’s show at the Nakano Sunplaza in Tokyo during their 1980 Japanese Tour. The two CDs come from a previously unreleased Miracle Man source. His sources are usually slightly distant but clear but this one seems closer to the stage and can be considered excellent, one of the better I’ve heard from his collection. The volume fluctuates in some spots but nothing drastic. The nearby crowd is respectful and is never a distraction.
Steve Smith kicks us off with a thunderous groove to start “Where Were You”. This is also the first track off their latest record, Departure, and is a much better intro for this song than its studio counterpart. The amount of power and energy displayed by the band is astonishing. “Just The Same Way” follows quickly and features a shared lead vocal between Gregg Rolie and Steve Perry. The two voices compliment each other incredibly well and Neal Schon plays one of his best solos ever recorded on the outro to the song. This is joined with “Lovin’ You Is Easy” from the previous years Evolution LP. They pull off the intricate vocal harmonies at the end with ease. They have been working hard on their vocals since Perry joined the band a few years earlier and it certainly shows.
Perry addresses the audience before they continue with “Too Late” from Evolution. A seamless transition into a couple of tracks from the pre-Steve Perry era brings applause from some of the die hard fans. “Of A Lifetime” and “Kohoutek” come from their self titled debut when the band was still experimenting with their sound even exploring a bit with fusion-rock on the latter.
“People And Places” features a rare lead vocal from Neal Schon. Neal has a decent voice and covers the verses while Perry covers the rest. The song eventually kicks in and gives way to an insane guitar solo. More sweet solos from Schon bridges “Lights” and “Stay Awhile” just as it would appear on the future live release, Captured. Perry explains the next track, “Dixie Highway” as a song about a highway running from Michigan all the way to Florida and acts as the band’s road song. Rolie’s Hammond organ sounds great in the funky section. A cut in the tape is filled with the video/soundboard source for about 30 seconds starting at the four minute mark. The sources overlap for a few seconds and are absolutely seamless. “Feeling That Way”, which seems to have been dropped for this tour, usually segues into “Anytime” but in its place is the new track, “Homemade Love”, which features a new interesting arrangement at the end.
“Walks Like A Lady” from the Departure record takes the band into some nice blues. The Hammond organ and Strat sounding guitar adds a nice bluesy vibe with some great loose playing. This track takes on a much livelier feel than the album version and is extended for some additional jamming. Schon’s solo spotlight lasts about two minutes and leads the band into “La Do Da” from Infinity. Ross Valory’s bass solo follows and contains a piece of “I’m Gonna Leave You”, a track from Journey’s second album Look Into The Future, and also a few riffs from Steve Miller’s “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash” (Valory did a stint in Steve Miller’s band in the early 70s). This leads into Steve Smith’s drum solo. Three of their biggest songs to date, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin”, “Wheel In The Sky”, and “Any Way You Want It” are wisely reserved to close the show.
Perry thanks the staff and crew before the encores and mentions the tour started in March and that they saved the best for last, referring to the Japanese leg. “I’m Cryin” is the first encore and switches to the video/soundboard source about 50 seconds into the tune and remains through the end of “Line Of Fire”.
The DVD footage has been released before as part of Crime Crow Production’s World’s Apart Live 1978 – 1983 and Live In Japan 1980 1981, a no label double DVD that also features the Tokyo show from July 31, 1981. The pro-shot footage is very good quality from a multi-camera shoot. Although it’s a bit grainy and definitely a couple generation from the master it does contain the full show. The video continues to run after the band leave the stage and the crew is breaking down. All of their guitars are brought out and lined up across the stage to display for the cameras. Interesting to see the “Scarab” double neck guitar (when I say double neck I mean a left handed and right handed guitar joined in the middle with the necks facing opposite directions. This guitar was made by ESP and resembles the “Scarab Beetle” the band used on their album covers. We also get a closer look at Neal Schon’s custom Peavey double neck that he used on “Precious Time” with the top being a short-scale 12-string and a standard 6-string on bottom.
While the no label DVD may have a slightly sharper video quality, its audio is completely inferior to Calm & Storm. Line Of Departure is louder and fuller with a much broader range of frequencies and is worth it just for the audio upgrade. It is also nice to have a pro-shot document from Gregg Rolie’s final stint with the band. Journey in the 70s was a much different animal than in the 80s and in my opinion deserve just as much or perhaps more respect for their earlier output. Line Of Departure on Calm & Storm is a remarkable release that not only debuts a new Miracle Man recording but also includes the pro-shot video of the entire event. Nicely done!