Journey and Herbie Hancock Join Forces to Transform Junior Walker’s “Road Runner” into an Electrifying Performance

Journey and Herbie Hancock Showcase Their Funky Side on The Midnight Special, Delivering a Memorable Performance of Classic Rock Gold

(Image credit: The Midnight Special)

In a recently uploaded video from The Midnight Special’s YouTube archive, Journey takes fans back to their earlier days before Steve Perry joined the band. This performance, which took place in May 1979, showcases the band’s jazzy and progressive rock sound that characterized their first three albums.

The show opens with Journey performing five songs from their then-new album, Evolution, including “Loving You Is Easy,” “Just the Same Way,” “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’,” “City of the Angels,” and “Too Late.” These tracks highlight the band’s instrumental prowess and their penchant for longer, intricate musical compositions.

While Journey is often associated with their later hits and power ballads featuring Steve Perry, this performance allows fans to experience the other side of the band’s musical journey, where they delved into more progressive and experimental sounds. The band proves that they were equally capable of delivering captivating performances with their earlier material.

The performance begins with Neal Schon, sporting his iconic voluminous hair, introducing a lively jam to the audience. To everyone’s delight, jazz fusion legend Herbie Hancock joins the stage, and the band launches into a tight yet improvisational rendition of “(I’m a) Road Runner.” Originally a hit for Junior Walker and the Allstars in 1966, the song takes on a new energy with Journey and Herbie Hancock infusing it with their own unique musical styles. The collaboration showcases the band’s ability to seamlessly blend genres and deliver an electrifying performance.

During the jam session, Journey’s Steve Perry proves his versatility by showcasing his funk prowess alongside Herbie Hancock. The chemistry between the two musicians is evident as they engage in playful exchanges and trade musical licks. The performance features a mix of choreographed and spontaneous dancing, adding to the fluid and energetic atmosphere of the jam.

While the subsequent segments of the show are not detailed, it appears that the lineup continued to deliver dance-friendly music. Herbie Hancock likely took the stage after Journey’s set, followed by performances from The Jacksons, Anita Ward, and the UK rockabilly group Levi and the Rockats. The overall lineup promises a night filled with lively and diverse music, creating an enjoyable and memorable experience for the audience.