Speed Reads

Lovin' a Music Man ain't always easy

Journey's Steve Perry randomly, majestically comes out of retirement at an Eels show

Paul Frank/YouTube

Steve Perry hadn't performed in public since 1995 — unless you count leading sing-alongs of old Journey hits at San Francisco Giants games — until last weekend. On Sunday night, the band the Eels were onstage at St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater (yes, the Prairie Home Companion one) for their second encore when singer Mark Everett surprised the audience by bringing out Perry to sing three songs — one by the Eels and two Journey songs, "Open Arms" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." A man named Paul Frank had good seats and a video camera:

Everett said at the concert that Perry stopped singing in public because it didn't feel right, which may be true but is probably incomplete: Perry and Journey recorded their last album together in 1996, but Perry pulled out of the proposed tour after hurting his hip. The band and he parted ways before the tour eventually happened in 1998, and Journey is now touring with Filipino Perry soundalike Arnel Pineda.

Who knows why Perry decided to end his long performance drought over the weekend — he told a magazine in late 2010 that he's writing songs again — but his retirement obviously had nothing to do with his singing chops. Those aren't the Journey songs I would have requested, but judging from Perry's obvious enjoyment of the spotlight on Sunday night, it wouldn't be surprising if we see more of him in the coming months.