The National Football League. If nothing else, love the game, hate the game, or know nothing of the game, no one can easily say that the NFL doesn't manage to find ways to draw people into their party.

This year, in Canton, Ohio, they pulled off their favorite play once again by booking American rock 'n' roll legends Journey to take the stage at their (mostly new) Hall Of Fame Village.

Making the Journey

If Journey has one problem, it is a problem that isn't of their own making, which likely has also assured them a permanent place in the world of music for years after they, someday, stop playing live.

That blessing/problem would be: format radio.

Most rock music radio stations have played bands like AC/DC, Queen, and yes, Journey, to the point where many fans who have always loved the band will never listen to them at home (unless it is album night) because most stations in format radio tend to play them, seemingly, on the tens.

That is quite unfortunate since, as any of the minions who made the Journey to see the musical staples – often from great distances due to the nature of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame and the parties that are all over the city during induction week – Journey has to be one of the tightest bands music history, bar none.

Who is that singing, again?

Band members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Randy Jackson, Deen Castronovo, Arnel Pineda, Jason Derlatka, and Narada Michael Walden remain some of the best musicians in the realm of classic rock.

As anyone who remembers the band Bad English will recall, even their side projects were pretty solid platters of rock.

That said, fans and listeners who were strolling from their cars or were otherwise meandering about as things got fully underway had to wonder... wait, is Steve Perry, Journey's original iconic singer, again a band member?

The answer is, surprisingly, no.

The singer, Arnel Pineda, has been with the band for fifteen years, and it is simply impossible to tell the two apart. While Tim "The Ripper" Owens was a good fit for Judas Priest (to the point where that influence made a movie), even Owens did not sound as nearly as close to Rob Halford as Pineda said like Perry.

Words do not do justice to the comparison, it was a spot-on performance, and many in attendance may not have been aware that there was a different singer.

Songs like "Open Arms," Wheel In The Sky," "Faithfully," and the closer "Be Good To Yourself," were all delivered as if the CD was playing. This was both a testament to their fine musicianship, quality gear, and a crew of soundmen second to none.

Even on songs such as the pounder "Separate Ways," a song done in an age where the same keyboard sound may not even exist any longer, the synth sound which was chosen for live use was so close to the record that one might think that the "tune" knob was just moved a bit.

For those who prefer to see some "out of the box" playing that isn't on a band's releases, Journey did offer up some of the most interesting break moments that Canton is likely to see for some time.

This was particularly true of ax handler Neal Schon, also of "Hardline," and famed for his work with Santana during his solo.

While fully able to shred with the very best of them, Schon's flurry playing always finds its way back to a root melody or counter melody. The melody returned when it seemed like he was going to go full-on blistering. This counterplay really worked for his time alone.

However, Schon's manic speed wasn't to go unseen as "Be Good To Yourself" came to a crash ending.

So, the band tacked the Hall Of Fame football crowd, and who knows, there may be many more frontiers for the band to forge before they come back to Ohio, but for sure, no one in Canton, Ohio is going to forget the Journey of their lives.