Neal Schon will be doing double duty during Journey's upcoming Canadian tour.
In support of his new solo album, Vortex -- a two-disc instrumental set that came out this week -- the guitarist will be opening the 18 dates as Neal "Vortex" Schon, with a quartet whose drummer, Omar Hakim, will also be playing with Journey, filling in while Deen Castronovo battles legal issues at home in Oregon.
Schon tells us he's confident the Vortex material will work in front of audiences:
"I really made this record to play live. When I wrote this record I wrote it because I was thinking, 'What do I want to play on stage? What do I feel will really captivate an audience?' and where the energy is coming from, the whole flow of this record. There's 18 songs, and obviously I wouldn't play the whole thing. I have a lot to pick from when I really get into putting together a set, and I could play a two- or three-hour show if I wanted to."
Journey returns to the road July 5 in Provo, Utah, then begins the Canadian run July 6 in Winnipeg, wrapping up August 2-3 in St. John's Newfoundland.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.