Best Bets: Journey's Pineda takes musical trip to Dover

By Craig Horleman
Posted 10/8/21

Although today he is known as the lead singer for the classic rock group Journey, Arnel Pineda has walked a long road to stardom.

After his mother died when he was 13 years old, his father left …

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Best Bets: Journey's Pineda takes musical trip to Dover


Although today he is known as the lead singer for the classic rock group Journey, Arnel Pineda has walked a long road to stardom.

After his mother died when he was 13 years old, his father left the family and asked his relatives to take in the children.

To ease his father’s burden, Mr. Pineda quit school and started working, living on the streets of Manila, Philippines, and earning meager money by collecting glass bottles, newspapers and scrap metal and selling them to recyclers.

In 1982, when Mr. Pineda was 15 years old, he became the lead singer of the Filipino group Ijos. In 1986, some members of Ijos formed a group called Amo, which won the Rock Wars contest in the Philippines.

He then became the lead singer for various bands and club acts in the Philippines in the late 1980s and 1990s.

In 2007, Neal Schon, guitarist for Journey, saw Mr. Pineda’s videos on YouTube and immediately contacted him. The band had been looking for a new lead singer, and Mr. Pineda’s voice sounded strikingly similar to Steve Perry, Journey’s legendary former frontman. After speaking with Mr. Schon on the phone, he flew to the United States and auditioned with the band in San Francisco. By the end of the year 2007, Mr. Pineda was welcomed as the band’s new lead singer.

He goes back to his roots Sunday at Dover Downs with fellow Filipino singer Bamboo as they present a concert at 4 p.m.

Bamboo Mañalac is a Filipino-American musician and singer-songwriter. He began his career as a vocalist and original frontman of Rivermaya and later fronted his own band, Bamboo, which disbanded in 2011. Mr. Mañalac then pursued a solo career and released his first solo album, “No Water, No Moon.”

In a brief email interview, Mr. Pineda, 54, said the two have musical ties.

“We’ve known each other for quite some time — probably a few years already — because we are featured regularly on the Filipino TV station network ABSCBN,” Mr. Pineda said.

Mr. Mañalac’s family immigrated from Quezon City, Philippines to San Francisco, when he was 10 years old and spent the rest of his childhood there. His mother gave him the nickname “Bamboo” when he was still a kid.

In 2002, after living in Los Angeles following the Rivermaya tour in America, Mr. Mañalac returned to the Philippines. His former bandmate in Rivermaya, Nathan Azarcon, introduced him to Ira Cruz and Vic Mercado. Later, all of them joined together and formed the band Bamboo. Since then, the band have launched four successful albums and received numerous awards.

Bamboo, alongside Sarah Geronimo and Lea Salonga, are current coaches for “The Voice Philippines.”

In October 2015, four years after releasing his first album, Bamboo released his second solo album entitled “Bless this Mess.”

Although Mr. Pineda said the show will feature Filipino songs, Journey fans shouldn’t feel left out.

“I’ll sing some classic rock, pop-rock hit songs and yes, some Journey songs — “Open Arms” and other verses (of songs),” Mr. Pineda said.

The Dover stop is the last of a seven-city tour for Mr. Pineda and Bamboo. Mr. Pineda said it’s been nice for American audiences to see another side of him.

“I am a very versatile singer as I was honed from being a band member and vocalist for a few bands when I was singing in Manila and Hong Kong. I will be singing some chosen songs I used to sing when I was singing in my bands in Asia,” he said.

He said he is gratified by the response he’s been getting by audiences on this tour.

“It’s been very, very warm and receptive. It fills my heart to see them enjoying my performances,” Mr. Pineda said.

After more than a year’s layoff due to the pandemic, Journey has been back on the road and has a new album in the works. But Mr. Pineda did enjoy some time with family in the interim.

“The pandemic allowed me to have more time with my family and it’s amazing to spend much time with my kids,” he said.

Journey went back to live performing in a big way July 31, as they headlined Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival.

“Lollapalooza was our first live concert together and it was a humongous success,” Mr. Pineda said.

A single and animated video, “The Way We Used to Be,” came out in June, and Journey has recorded its first album since “Eclipse” in 2011 — though it hasn’t yet announced a release date.

“For me it is one of our best albums yet. I was very involved in the production,” he said.

Next up for Journey is a six-date residency at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas. The dates run through the first part of December. They also have a special show with a symphony orchestra at Caesar’s Palace on Dec. 18.

Ticket prices for Sunday’s show at Dover Downs range from $78 to $128 and are available here.

Double dose of Bad Juju

If you are a fan of the local blues band, Bad JuJu, you are in for a treat. The group is playing two area shows this weekend.

Tonight, Delaware Friends of Folk will present the first event in their 2021-22 Old State House Concert Series, inside the Old State House on The Green in Dover.

This is the eighth season in the series, which is produced in cooperation with the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs and First State Heritage Park and is supported by a grant from the Kent County Fund for the Arts.

Due to COVID restrictions, seating is limited and face masks are required for the free show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission will be by reservation only. Call 302-992-8080 to reserve your seat.

The normally electric blues band will play a special acoustic performance. Typically a bar band, they were offered the opportunity to play the Delmarva Folk Festival in 2017, under the condition that they had to play acoustic guitars. They accepted the challenge and discovered a whole new way to do their music.

“Friday’s show in Dover is a walk down a different path for Bad JuJu. A lot of our roots come from unplugged music that has grown through the years. Every now and then, it’s good to get back to the bare bones where it all began,” said bass player Ken Belmont.

BadJuju will also play Saturday for OkDoverFest on Loockerman Street in Dover. The free event will also feature the bands Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and Mike Hines and The Look.

From 2 to 9 p.m., along with listening to live music, you’ll also be able to purchase beer, wine, spirits and food.

Bowers Beach Heritage Day

Bowers Beach Heritage Day is Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. After a year away, the town of Bowers will again celebrate “The Way Life Used To Be” with demonstrations of early crafts, trades and skills.

There will be presentations of flintknapping and fire starting, as well as other craftsmen spending time to showcase their skills.

Those participating will be Henry Ward preparing indigenous Lenape Indian food, The Old Trapper displaying furs and trapping information, For Woodness Sake with a foot-pedal propelled wood lathe, the Zwaanendael Museum with weights and pulleys, the Greater Harrington Historical Society, the Lewes Historical Society on the history of chocolate, the Thistledown Fiber Guild with spinners and weavers and musician Rick Hudson performing.

There will also be an area of modern craft vendors. Food will be available.

At 9 a.m., the day will begin with the Big Thursday on Sunday 5K Walk/Run. Sign up at

For more information call 302-222-6341 or email

‘Honeymoon at Graveside’

Second Street Players’ Children’s Theater will stage its first show since early 2020 as it presents “Honeymoon at Graveside Manor” today through Sunday. Directed by Tammy Crawford and co-directed by Scott Hammer, this ghostly farce is just in time for Halloween.

Played by actors aged 12-18, “Honeymoon at Graveside Manor” is the story of Marian Thorncraft (played by Addie Hammer) and her new husband, Tyler (Gabriel Fennemore). Marian pictures someplace romantic, secluded and cozy for their honeymoon. No sooner have her feet touched the ground after being carried over the threshold than she discovers her love nest is really a one-time mortuary.

Graveside Manor, as the locals call it, has been abandoned for years, mainly due to the rumors of it being haunted. Cozy as a bat cave, it’s about as secluded as Grand Central Station. A daffy maid (Bella Howard) shows up to clean the place and gets lost in the catacombs behind the walls.

This goes unnoticed because Tyler is too busy ducking a female ghost (Cassidy Okonewski) with a hatchet, three high school kids (Abigail Aleman, Tryston Bellon and Natalie Howard) trying to set up a Halloween prank and his wise-cracking female editor (Kierstin Shockley) who once had a crush on him. Throw in an absent-minded cop (Ireland Stump) and the escaped lunatic she’s looking for (Colby Crawford) and the stage is set for a honeymoon at Graveside Manor.

Performances will be at the Riverfront Theater, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford. Curtain is at 7 p.m. for today and Saturday shows, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. All Children’s Theater tickets are general admission and can be purchased at the door.

Tickets for today’s show are pay what you can/donations and $10 for adults/$5 for children on Saturday and Sunday. More information about this show and SSP’s Children’s Theater is available at

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New this weekend is the long-awaited James Bond film “No Time to Die.”