Sunday, February 3, 2008

Here's Where the Journey Ends

My rl husband alerted me to the news that Journey, the rock band of 80s fame, was to celebrate their latest album in-world on February 1st. Now I’m no Journey fan. The band reminds me of those low teenage years, and something about the nasal pitch of Steve Perry’s voice makes the hair on my neck stand on end. Listening to Journey transports me immediately to a high school dance, shedding a teenage tear or two over “Wheel in the Sky”, spinning in a drunken stupor under the gymnasium bleachers…shudder…

I braced myself and found my way to the Journey Rock Band island. It was laid out like any other lazy mall on the mainland – a grassy football field hemmed in by structures on either side - and one lone tree. A panel depicting every Journey album cover emerged in front of me. The pavilions on the other side of the grass were in fact 3 dimensional manifestations of select album covers – an attempt to depict the songs’ vibes. The island advertised itself as having lots to explore, that it was so much fun for visitors that we’d want to return again and again. I looked around me…there were no people around, except for two newbies who were having a hard time getting settled.

[13:03] Amanda M: Yo
[13:03] Ace B: hey Amanda
[13:03] Amanda M: How are ya?
[13:03] Ace B: I’m you have a face?!
[13:04] Amanda M: I see my face, you don't see my face?
[13:04] Ace B: I am no good at this SL stuff!

I turned back to the panel and clicked on “Next” (1977) and was teleported the 4 feet across the grass to a pavilion-cum-living room filled with what looked like bongs. Maybe they were lamps. I stared at the hairy chests of the band members, thinking how bad the 70s were for music.

The “Infinity” (1978) pavilion was a trippy wonderland filled with annoying dragonflies and mushrooms. Exactly what I imagine as I listen to Journey. I ached to put on my Mötorhead t-shirt and light a cig. A carefree-sounding narrator greeted me. “Welcome to Journey Rock Band!” He read from a script, sounding like he had no idea what he was reading - could have been Winnie the Pooh for all he knew – in fact, the landscaped pavilion was very Winnie the Pooh. But no, he read out the interminable story of Journey’s journey to fame and fortune.

The fact that only excerpts of Journey songs were played over the speakers, like an itunes snippet, shows that this whole project is just one big marketing scheme. Not sure what else I expected…One of the best art exhibitions I ever saw was a recreation, in a gallery, of a teenage boy’s bedroom from the 70s. Visitors stood around chuckling and sighing in familiarity over the artifacts of a seventies childhood. Perhaps in Journey Rock Band I’d rather see a high school gymnasium filled with braces-wearing, mullet sporting avatars-as-teenagers. That would be something to see.

No, the book did not contain any lyrics, or pages for that matter

Read more about Journey Rock Band here.