Neal Schon has praised stand-in Journey drummer Omar Hakim as an “unbelievable musician.”
The band had to bring in a last-minute replacement for Deen Castronovo after he was was arrested for assault earlier this month. They moved fast to recruit Hakim, who’s worked with Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Kate Bush, among others.
He made his debut at the Hollywood Bowl over the weekend, where they were backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
Schon tells 98.7 The Gater: “Omar hit the ground running and then some. I can’t believe he played as well as he did, because he didn’t really know the material, and he had to count everything off for the orchestra.
“All the orchestration was written around live versions that we did of the songs that were not album versions. So I couldn’t go, ‘Just listen to the album, and that’s what it is.’ There’s all these different endings and added bits and pieces that the orchestra wrote.
“He’s one unbelievable musician – that’s all I can say.”
Journey helped raise $1.6m at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night show for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s community programmes. It’s the highest figure achieved to date. Castronovo’s side-project Revolution Saints launched their debut album in February, while Schon released solo title Vortex this week.
JOURNEY DATES WITH HAKIM
Jul 04: Provo Stadium Of Fire, UT
Jul 06: Winnipeg MTS Centre, MB
Jul 08: Calgary Fort Calgary, AB
Jul 10: Penticton South Okanagan Events Centre, BC
Jul 11: Vancouver Rogers Arena, BC
Jul 13: Victoria Save On Foods Memorial Coliseum, BC
Jul 15: Prince George CN Centre, BC
Jul 16: Dawson Creek Encana Events Center, BC
Jul 18: Edmonton Northlands Rexall Place, AB
Jul 19: Lethbridge Enmax Centre, AB
Jul 21: Regina Brandt Centre, SK
Jul 22: Saskatoon Sasktel Centre, SK
Jul 25: Hamilton First Ontario Centre, ON
Jul 26: Kingston Rogers K-Rock Centre, ON
Jul 28: Montreal Centre Bell, QB
Jul 30: Moncton Coliseum, NB
Jul 31: Dartmouth Alderney Landing Events Plaza, NS
Aug 02: St Johns Mile One Centre, NL
Aug 03: St Johns Mile One Centre, NL