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Review by Chris Roll
Pineda, a native of the Philippines, performed in a classic rock cover band for 25 years before being discovered by Neal Schon, Journey’s lead guitarist. Schon saw a YouTube video of Pineda performing the song “Faithfully” and immediately alerted the band’s manager. Journey had fallen out of the public consciousness since Steve Perry, who fronted the band in its heyday, left in 1998.
Watching Pineda grow accustomed to performing with Journey is a joy to watch because not so long ago, he was just another fan. He watched, he idolized and he imitated, but he never could have imagined becoming the face of the legendary band. His youthful exuberance—his wide-eyed wonder at actually performing with Journey—makes his story all the more endearing. And, when Journey performs in Manila, Pineda’s personal journey (pardon the pun) truly comes full circle.
Once Pineda has won over the fans and the film’s audience alike, we get a closer look at who he was before his big break. He admits his own shortcomings, and ultimately his failures, when it came to relationships, family and his music career. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were almost his undoing, but the music would also be his redemption.
The film drags at times, and it misses an opportunity to explore the difficulties that must have arisen from recruiting a singer from such a different cultural background. Nevertheless, the high points are exhilarating.
And of course, the soundtrack is absolutely incredible.
VOX rating: VVVV
THE RATING SYSTEM
VVVVV = AWESOME! SEE IT TWICE
VVVV = DEFINITELY GO SEE IT
VVV = HMM… IT’S OKAY
VV = EH… DVD MAYBE?
V = DON’T BOTHER
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