For the first time ever this fall, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Journey will take the stage at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, a venue equal to the band’s legendary status. With nine dates announced for October and now the addition of Dec. 27, 28, 30 and 31, fans will have the opportunity to spend New Year’s Eve weekend with the group that’s been touching the world with its infectious music for five decades.
“We don’t usually play a New Year’s Eve show” says keyboardist Jonathan Cain in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “How quick the [other] shows sold sealed the idea and this year it made sense for all of us.” Legacy acts like Journey are prime for Las Vegas residencies because of their ability to sell tickets to a wide range of consumers who will travel to see icons in an intimate space like The Colosseum.
Founding members Neal Schon (lead guitarist) and Ross Valory (bassist) join longtime members Jonathan Cain (keyboardist), Steve Smith (drummer) and Arnel Pineda (lead singer) in performing some of the best-known and most successful popular American music hits, including “Lights,” “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Wheel In The Sky,” “Separate Ways,” “Who’s Crying Now,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Now that members are in their 60s and 70s, Cain says their music holds up and is “age appropriate.”
“I still feel good singing it,” he says. “Lyrically we kept it right where we needed to keep it, songs about hope and love and dreams, and believing. We built a really good machine that travels well, and has lasted.” Journey has 19 top 40 singles, 25 Gold and Platinum albums and has sold 100 million albums globally with their Greatest Hits album certified 15 times-platinum.
The 2018 co-headlining tour with Def Leppard was the band’s most successful, landing them in the top 10 year-end touring chart with more than 1 million tickets sold.
“We are looking forward to getting back out there,” Cain says. “We had such a killer year. We came off our biggest selling tour and it was sweet because we did it with our friends Def Leppard in some of the country’s iconic ballparks like Wrigley, Fenway and Coors Field.” Def Leppard, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, starts their own residency Aug. 14 a cross the street at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood.
So what has changed since Cain, who wrote the song “Faithfully,” joined the band in 1980?
“It’s a lot easier to hear—there are brilliantly designed halls for acoustics and even arenas sound better,” he says. “We take the plane when we do the long tours, because we realized we don’t actually sleep on those buses anymore. We play better and we are in better spirits. We get off the jet and we’re ready to go. We’ve also got the best sound crew on the planet. We walk on stage and it’s perfect, and we don’t take it for granted, we remember the old days and we remember how hard it was. The other thing that has changed is the [industry]. You don’t need a new album, you just need a fresh attitude when you go out there, and play the songs everybody loves. They want that live experience.”
And while the group has never performed at The Colosseum before, they are no strangers to Las Vegas. Cain says love the city just as much as it loves them. “I always tell people, there’s a heart in Vegas you haven’t seen yet,” he says. “You don’t have to look too far to find it. Back in the day nobody wanted to play Vegas—and now it has become the place to play.”
Journey joins fellow past Colosseum residents including Rod Stewart, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, Jerry Seinfeld, Mariah Carey and Sting. The Colosseum is currently undergoing a major renovation, which will be revealed on Sept. 6 with a special two-night engagement of Keith Urban’s Graffiti U touring show.