Last night I took two of my kids to see the documentary, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey that tells the story of how the iconic band journey found its new lead singer, Arnel Pineda.

Here is the trailer

I have found the best documentaries are ones that don’t answer all the questions, but rather they lift up unique insights about a topic and inspire further inquiry by the viewer. I suspect that true Journey fans will find some of the history , for a kid who grew up on Confunkshun, Lakeside, Bobby Brown and Debbie Gibson, all the Journey-hype was way outside of my wheelhouse. Sure, I knew some songs, but all the band drama was outside of my musical bubble, so I learned a good deal about the band, and was intrigued by some of the what might have been going on behind the scenes.

But the documentary was really about Arnel Pineda, plucked out of the Philippines and found via youtube.

There were a few places that dragged a bit, but overall Everyman’s Journey did a great job at presenting the story without trying to manipulate it into a gimmicky happening. As the band talked about, the addition of Arnel could have been a pathetic attempt of an aging band to grab some headlines, but ultimately this was about finding someone with the gifts and personality to build on the past and develop a future for a group of artists who still felt called to make music . . . and a good living.

What I appreciated most about this documentary was they ways in which it treated some of the tough and important topics with a light hand. Arnel’s history and personal struggles, some of the initial fan reaction and many of the bigger questions about being a very different person entering into a very different world.

Best line, “I’m not that cute, I’m short, and I’m sooooo Asian.”

Second best line — at the beginning when Arnel goes to his elementary school. Awesome.

One of the most touching parts of the doc was the when it was explained that Arnel was a full member of the band. Again, this could have so easily been a group of guys using and exploiting someone new, but it seems that he and the group have developed a sense of community and relationship that has been embraced by the Journey fandom.

Overall, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey was a satisfying viewing experience, so if it comes to your town take some time and check it out. For more info here are the links [website | facebook | twitter].

Here is a video sampler from a 2013 Singapore concert — and yeah, Arnel with short hair.

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