Director: Ramona S. Diaz
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Film Pulse Score: 8/10
Cover bands. Tribute bands. It’s fair to say they’re a dime-a-dozen. They’re on stage night after night singing fan favorites in bars, small venues and carnivals, even on cruise ships. Singing and playing their hearts out hoping to give their audience a fun show. There are goods one and there are bad ones. What they all have in common is the love of and the joy of performing the songs of their favorite artists. Once in awhile you may come across a band or artist who is actually really good. You may have seen one of their shows or even watched a clip of them on Youtube. Thanks to Youtube many bands can reach a broader audience and hopefully more exposure. One fateful night in June of 2007, one such video caught the attention of one viewer. The video featured a Filipino man with an amazing voice and range. That man is Arnel Pineda. The person watching his videos with great interest was Neal Schon of the legendary rock band Journey. This thoroughly enjoyable documentary chronicles the incredible journey of Arnel Pineda, the lead singer of Journey.
Diaz does a fine of job of not only chronicling Pineda’s story but the journey of the band as well. Their stories are almost parallel as they both had to overcome hardships to get to where they are now. Pineda was living on the streets, working gigs just to get free food, doing what he can to survive and provide for his family. The band had to find a new identity to be relevant and they did with Perry but once he left they had to fight again to remain relevant. For many there was no Journey without Perry. Against the odds, Pineda is standing tall as Journey’s front man and Journey is back.
The documentary features many great stage performances. There are numerous candid moments including some where the band and Pineda himself express their doubts about what they are about to embark upon. In fact, as the film progresses you are hoping against hope yet wanting to see if Pineda comes crashing down. In addition we get to see how Pineda and his family deals with his new found fame. This is a mere sampling of just what Diaz covers as Pineda’s first tour with the band progresses.
This documentary really has something for everyone. It’s for the fans of the band Journey. It’s for anyone who loves a good music documentary. It’s for anyone who loves inspirational stories. Finally it is for all the dreamers out there hoping for their happy ending. It’s a moving and uplifting look at a man who was plucked out of obscurity to do what he has always dreamed of. A man who still can’t believe it himself nor can we.