Don’t Stop Believin’ – Everyman’s Journey (Movie Review)

How do you replace a legend?   If you ran the script of Arnel Pineda’s real life story, Hollywood producers would probably turn it down as too unbelievable!   The 2012 documentary, “Don’t Stop Believin’ – Everyman’s Journey” chronicled Journey’s search for a new lead singer after the retirement of Steve Perry and the failed experiment with Steve Augeri.   Neil Schon scoured the internet for Journey tribute bands and “hired gun” singers to find their new singer.  It was frustrating until he discovered a video of a diminutive Filipino singer named Arnel Pineda who simply blew him away!   Schon watched all 60 of his videos on YouTube and ran him past keyboardist, Jonathan Cain.  Before long, Arnel Pineda made the trip to the U.S. to tryout.  He was nervous and pretty much flunked Day 1 of the audition but before the week was up, goosebumps were all around as they found their guy! The movie tells Arnel’s inspiring backstory, his acceptance with the band and fans, and his new role as a permanent 1/5 member of the Hall of Fame rock band.


If you’re like most fans, Steve Perry IS Journey.   His soulful voice and dynamic presence left an indelible place on our hearts. Arnel even acknowledged he’s a huge Perry fan and understands why fans would be reluctant to hear Journey with a new singer. But hearing Arnel’s story from living on the streets in the Phillipines and raising his family after his mom died, made you root for him to catch a break.   Arnel has an incredible voice and a youthful enthusiasm that injected new life into Journey.   This is no tribute act and the movie beautifully captures his rise with the band, their first tour together, and what a huge impression Arnel’s role in the band has left on Filipino fans worldwide.   If you’re looking for a fun feel-good rockumentary with some classic Journey songs like “Lights”, “Stone In Love”, and  “Wheel In The Sky”, you will fall in love with this film!   Two highlights to spotlight:

  1.  Arnel singing an touching acapella version of “Faithfully” to his wife before they jump into a lake in the Phillipines.
  2.  Jason Scheff (backstage at a Journey concert) introducing himself as “the guy who replaced the legend, Peter Cetera, in Chicago” and bonding with Arneda over their shared life path.

RATING         Four out of Five Guitars     (A-)