Neal Schon Says Journey Will Play Stadiums for 50th Anniversary, Doesn’t Rule Out Steve Perry Return
The year 2023 will be a big one for Journey, who will celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band and in a rather significant way — guitarist Neal Schon has suggested the group will play stadiums next year in what is still quite a secretive operation. And he didn't rule out the return of two classic members either.
His comments came in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, which also touched on Journey's new album Freedom and their Las Vegas residency shows which feature a symphony orchestra. Schon even laughed a bit when he was asked how many times Journey rehearsed with the orchestra before opening night and replied, "One day."
The interview then put the focus on the future and what lies ahead beyond the Vegas gigs as Journey prepare to celebrate 50 years as a band. "We're going back into stadiums with someone I can't really talk about right now," commented Schon, playing things close to the vest while managing to tease what appears to be quite a massive forthcoming announcement.
The guitarist was also asked about the likelihood of singer Steve Perry and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, who split with the group in 1998 and 1980, respectively. "You know, I think that those two guys were a big part of the band and I think if [it] permits - the city permits - the fans would overall love it," says Schon, though it's uncertain exactly what he meant in regards to the city permits — perhaps securing stadium locations and complying with local noise ordinances, but that remains unconfirmed.
Schon didn't rule out the return of either member and those comments follow recent remarks where the guitarist claimed he and Perry are "talking and getting to know each other again" but cautioned that they "are not trying to get together musically again."
Earlier this year, in May, the lone remaining Journey founder told UCR, "We’re going to celebrate the 50th anniversary and then celebrate it again in ‘24,” Schon tells UCR. “It’s my 50th year with Journey and I’m the only original member left there. You know, Jon [Jonathan Cain] is 40 years with us. Deen [Castronovo] has a good two decades and Arnel [Pineda] is now 15 years, the longest run of any singer [with Journey]."
He even has his eyes on sharing the bill with Carlos Santana and revealed in that same conversation, "I talked to Carlos and I talked to his manager about it the other day. He says Carlos definitely wants to do some stuff. I said, what about the latter part of ‘23? We could possibly go from big arenas in Europe to stadiums and finish out ‘23 in the stadiums, in South America and all of that."