Rick Diamond / Ethan Miller, GETTY IMAGES

Cleveland.com | April 7, 2017

NEW YORK – As expected, seeing Steve Perry onstage with the Journey for the first time in more than 25 years was a magical moment.

The crowd at the sold out Barclays Center in Brooklyn rightfully gave the inducted members of Journey (led by Perry) a standing ovation. And they weren’t the only ones moved during Friday’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Guitarist and Journey’s leader Neal Schon was brought to tears as he told the other members he loved them, pointing out Perry specifically.

 “What a long ride it’s been,” Schon said. “It’s been a beautiful one.”

From there, Journey stepped knee deep into the kind of lengthy band speeches that have plagued the annual Induction Ceremony. But it was worth it to get to the moment many people were in attendance to witness.

“Hello Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Steve Perry shouted, as fans roared. “You sure look good to me tonight.”

Perry then talked about going to see Journey live before he joined the band and being in awe of Schon’s guitar playing. The band’s manager Walter “Herbie” Herbert later discovered Perry and connected him with Schon. The rest was, as they say, history.

In a nice moment, Perry then gave credit to Journey’s current lead singer Arnel Pineda for “singing his heart out every single night” with the band.

“I’ve been gone a long time,” said Perry told fans at the end of his speech. “But you’ve always been in my heart. I want you to know that.”

After Perry’s speech, Journey hit the stage. The one thing that was surely on the minds of everyone in the arena was whether or not Perry would perform with the band.

Journey’s set began with Pineda belting out the lyrics to “Separate Ways” (which included an epic guitar solo from Schon). Journey’s ability to remain an engaging touring force for such a long time is, in no small part, due to Pineda. It showed Friday night.

Schon then invited former drummer Aynsley Dunbar and keyboardist Gregg Rolie on stage to perform “Lights” with the band. The set closed out with a soaring version of “Don’t Stop Believin.'”

If you haven’t guessed by now, Perry did NOT sing with the band. I wish I could say it didn’t matter. Journey’s performance was solid, especially compared to the other classic rock bands inducted Friday.

But not having Perry perform deprived fans of a moment they’d been longing to see for three decades. Perhaps it is time to stop believing.

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