A few weeks ago, I saw Journey at Manchester Apollo, which I thought at the time to be a superb show. Since then I’ve noticed the stories that have rumbling on for a while across various message boards, such as this one, suggesting that vocalist Steve Augeri had been lip-synching on some songs where he couldn’t hit the high notes.
Initially I dismissed these stories as malicious gossip, perhaps spread by diehard Steve Perry fans, which is why I didn’t blog about it at the time. But since Steve Augeri has been ‘temporarily’ replaced by Jeff Scott Soto, the dead tree media have picked up the story. As the official Journey website states:
Jeff Scott Soto to assume JOURNEY lead singer duties starting on July 7th in Bristow, VA due to Steve Augeri throat infection
July 6, 2006 — Due to a chronic throat infection, Journey’s lead singer, Steve Augeri, has been forced to leave the band’s current nationwide tour with Def Leppard. Jeff Scott Soto, who has previously performed with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, will assume the band’s lead singer duties starting with the July 7th show in Bristow, VA. Steve Augeri’s condition will be closely monitored by his physician to determine when he may be able to rejoin the tour.
According to Journey, “Steve’s been suffering with an acute throat condition since before we kicked off the tour with Def Leppard. We were hoping he’d be in well condition to handle the rigors of the road but unfortunately it appears to be a chronic condition requiring total voice rest. We all wish Steve a speedy recovery.”
I’m still not sure what to make of this. I did notice Augeri’s vocals falter in one song (it might have been ‘Faithfully’, which is one song I’ve heard mentioned), quite early in the set, but he was still note-perfect later in the show. Was I hearing taped vocals later on?
I’m not fond of the use of tapes or programming in live performance. I found myself annoyed when Paradise Lost used a lot of programmed keyboards rather than have a live keyboard player on stage last year. But background keyboards are one thing, lead vocals are another thing entirely.
I hope this story isn’t true, but I fear it might be.