Tommy Dears contends everyone loves the rock band Journey and its songs like “Faithfully,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Separate Ways.”
The longtime Ahwatukee musician said it was an easy decision to start a Journey tribute act that the band named Voyager.
“Journey is one of the greatest bands,” said Dears, a drummer. “For musicians, Journey is a challenging band to pay tribute to. At the same time, it’s rewarding.
“They’re an iconic, Hall of Fame band that is well respected among, not only the masses, but musicians. We love their music and we’re all really into it.”
Voyager — which also includes vocalist Darwin Santos of Gilbert, guitarist Andy Martin of Gilbert, bassist Billy Fry of Glendale, and keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Sage of Mesa — has four local shows coming up: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Copper Blues Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace in North Phoenix; 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at Chilleen’s on 17 in Black Canyon City; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 28, at Anthem Golf and Country Club and is open to Anthem residents only; and 5 p.m. Saturday, May 1, at Harold’s Cave Creek Corral.
Journey or Voyager fans can expect to hear the legendary band’s greatest hits. Dears described the show as a rollercoaster of emotions and tempos, as Journey’s set is filled with ballads and upbeat rockers.
“It’s a trip down memory lane,” Dears said. “We’re going back with all the songs you remember. Another key thing to our show is we play the songs as they were recorded. Our goal is to play the songs like the record. Some tribute bands, they play the live version. We don’t do that.
“You have to have endings for songs. We do pick from Journey’s live shows, so you can hear endings based on that. For the most part, though, the songs sound the way you remember them on the record.”
Dears explained Voyager constantly learns new songs, as it’s a meticulous undertaking to be in a tribute band that plays around the United States.
“Each show has 22 Journey songs,” Dears said. “We know 39. We recently rehearsed to refresh ourselves on some of the songs we haven’t played in a while, so we don’t lose them. We’re having the time of our lives. It’s so much fun to play music that people love.”
The most challenging song to learn was “Mother, Father,” which Dears described as Perry’s favorite Journey song.
“It was the one he thought was the most fulfilling song he ever wrote and sang,” he said. “It’s a rare cut, not that many people know it. You have to play that song when we have a diehard Journey crowd. It’s for people who know all their stuff. That song has a lot of different parts and is vocally very challenging because of the intricate parts.”
Another similarity between Voyager and Journey is both of the bands’ singers are from the Philippines.
“That’s a cool little connection that we have there,” Dears said. “That’s a neat thing.”