On December 31, 1973, "Journey" made its first-ever stage appearance.
(Photo: Journey's Debut Album inlay 1975)
The original lineup of "Journey" was a kind of "supergroup" that gathered in San Francisco during the year 1973, under the supervision of former "Santana" manager, Herbie Herbert. Originally the band was called "Golden Gate Rhythm Section", and was intended to be a backup group of professional musicians to accompany established artists in the Bay Area of San Francisco. The band consisted of Neal Schon, on lead guitar and Greg Rollie on keyboards and lead vocals, both formerly of "Santana". They were joined by bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both from the band "Frumious Bandersnatch", and drummer Prairie Prince from the band "The Tubes". The band quickly abandoned the "backing band" concept and developed a rock style spiced with progressive and unique jazz fusion. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the band, roadie John Villanueva suggested the name "Journey"
The band's first public performance was held at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, on New Year's Eve 1973, in front of 10,000 spectators. The next day, the band flew to Hawaii to perform at Diamond Head Crater to an audience of over 100,000 people.
As mentioned, "Journey's" line-up presented at this San Francisco show was very different from the "mainstream" version of the band that rose to prominence in the '80s. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain who joined in 1980 and singer Steve Perry who joined in 1977 was not there. Instead, we got a progressive supergroup that focused mostly on the instrumental abilities of the band members, which they displayed during a nine-song set on that historical evening
Believe it or not, there is a recording of that historic performance held on New Year's Eve of 1973. Whoever listens to it will be convinced of the incredible abilities of the band members.
About a month after the show, on February 1, 1974, drummer Prairie Prince will return to his former band "The Tubes". After auditioning 28 drummers, the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had just finished working with David Bowie and was a member of Frank Zappa's "Mothers of Invention".
The set played on that historic evening:
2. It's All Too Much (The Beatles cover)
3. In My Lonely Feeling, / Conversations
4. Mystery Mountain
5. Sing a Song For You (Can You Hear Me)
7. Charge of the Light Brigade
9. In the Morning Day