The answer was no. No, Steve Perry didn’t perform with Journey at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night. And no, Steve Perry didn’t do any after-induction press with the band, either, choosing to eschew the standard press-room confab following their onstage reunion. While Perry’s absence didn’t come as a total surprise — numerous news outlets reported he wouldn’t be taking the stage to sing as early as Friday morning — fans, well, wouldn’t stop believing that perhaps Perry would pull a fast one on everyone and belt out some Journey classics for the first time since 1991. Though he didn’t end up performing — Journey’s very capable current lead singer, Arnel Pineda, contributed the vocals to “Separate Ways,” “Lights,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” — Perry instead chose to take the stage with a speech that thanked everyone from his former bandmates, Pineda, and Columbia Records to his roadies and longtime attorney. Clearly in good spirits and ecstatic to be celebrating such a crowning achievement, Perry was also quick with the profanities, too.
Aynsley Dunbar, Gregg Rolie, Steve Smith, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory. Are you fucking shitting me? Any singer would give his ass for that shit. So, I want to thank them for all the music we’ve written. Thank you, Gregg, for letting me into your house to write that Infinity record. For letting me into your house, Schon. Thank you so much, Jon, for all the songs that we all write together. Steve Smith for the raging drums. Alright, guys, thank you so much for all the music we’ve written and recorded together. Forever and ever.
After praising Journey’s musicianship as being “absolutely par to none,” Perry closed out his speech by thanking the fans.
Now, speaking of fans, speaking of fans! You’re the ones who put us here! You’re the one who put us here! You are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! You put us here! We would not be here had it not been for you and the tireless love and consistent devotion. We never would’ve stopped. And from my heart, I must tell you, I’ve been gone a long time, I understand that. But I want you to know, you’ve never not been in my heart. I want you to know that. And I love every single one of you. Thank you so very much.
Though Perry didn’t accompany the rest of Journey to the press area, his bandmates had nothing but nice things to say regarding the brief reunion with the former front man. “It was very emotional. I hadn’t seen Steve in a very long time … and so just to see him again, he’s a really great friend of mine, he’s a changed person and I liked what I saw in him,” Schon told Vulture and other press. “It just moved me. It was tremendous to stand on stage.” Cain also added what his favorite Perry memory is, and it involves bus wrestling. “He used to try to wrestle me on the bus. That was very funny. After a couple glasses of wine. I won! I told him to calm down,” he joked. “But truly, for me it was the songwriting brotherhood we shared. I had no idea when I came to San Francisco, when Neal and the guys had me come up, that we would write those incredible songs together. There was something supernatural — divine intervention if you call it, but it was god-given and I’ll never forget it … that’s what I’ll remember Steve for. Being the amazing songwriting partner.”