Wednesday, April 05, 2017
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office
ADA, Okla. -- Journey brought arena rock to life in the late 70s, continuing into the 80s, by filling stadiums and belting out rock ballads. Resurrection: A Journey Tribute will bring the glory days of arena rock back to life 7 p.m., April 8, in south central Oklahoma at the McSwain Theatre.
Steve Perry, the voice of Journey during their most commercially successful periods, left quite a unique pair of shoes to fill--white Nikes with a red check. Ryan Christopher fills them for Resurrection, as well as the hip-high jeans and leopard print shirt.
Christopher said that he goes the extra mile to channel Perry during performances. He has spent the last 11 years as front man for the Journey tribute band, perfecting the voice and looks of Perry, as well as the essence of a Journey concert.
“If you come out to see a Journey tribute with us, you’re not going out to see just any tribute,” Christopher explained. “You’re seeing guys that have been in touch with Journey, that know exactly what Journey did in the 1980s and are recreating that magic.”
Christopher was a natural born entertainer. He received a small boom box as a gift as a child. It turned him onto the challenge and pleasure of performing. He dreamed of becoming the next Richard Marx or Bryan Adams. From then on, all he needed was an audience.
“I loved family get-togethers, reunions, singing for friends, going out for karaoke, going out and having fun with it,” Christopher said.
Going out to have fun singing is just the happy accident which led him to front the successful Journey tribute.
Christopher walked into a Karaoke competition with some pop, modern and classic rock experience under his belt. But he had never performed anything from Journey for a competition. On a dare, he stepped up to perform “Don’t Stop Believing.” He got a standing ovation and won the competition.
“It was that karaoke competition when I realized where I belong,” Christopher explained. “This is where I shine. I can sing anything else, but this is what makes people move. That’s when things began for me.”
Within months he was the front man for a Journey tribute band. And by 2013 Resurrection became a reality.
It was a meeting of the minds which lifted Resurrection off the ground.
Vic White, musical director and keyboardist for Resurrection, had dreamed of performing on stage with the likes of Journey’s Steve Perry. Like Christopher, White was a lifelong performer. He had toured and recorded with performers like John Berry, Deana Carter and Bryan Adams.
By chance, he caught Ryan Christopher performing on stage in Nashville. The front man’s magic left a mark.
“The moment Ryan took the stage, my jaw hit the floor from watching his precise Steve Perry mannerisms and hearing his spot-on rendition of Perry's voice,” White explained. “Since I grew up a big Journey fan during the 80s, that was the most fun I had experienced on stage in quite some time."
To this day, during performances, White tends to explain to the audience how he had finally found the opportunity to sing with Steve Perry, through Resurrection’s Ryan Christopher.
“It’s a great thing the two of us met,” Christopher said. “We’ve been able to realize the dreams of our youth.”
A labor of love propelled the band forward. Working twofold as businessmen and performers, Vic and Christopher set up shows and knocked them down. They developed followings, folks would drive across multiple states just to see them.
One of the highest points for Christopher so far was a performance during a 2015 White Sox ballgame. The team was celebrating the 10-year-anniversary of their 2005 World Series win. “Don’t Stop Believing,” was the team’s rally song.
Christopher explained, officials with the team called up Journey, but they were booked. They called up Steve Perry himself, but he declined. Third in line was Resurrection.
“We stood in front of 35,000 fans after they beat the Royals,” Christopher said. “The team came out to the field, all the lights went on us. It was the most overwhelming and incredible experience of my life. We had just went from playing bars and clubs to playing for stadiums. We did six songs that night and rocked the house.”
It was one shining moment of success in the band’s history. A more constant sign of success is centered in Nashville, “Music City,” where country and gospel reign supreme--an unlikely spot for a classic rock tribute band.
The band’s home venue, the place where they constantly sell out shows, is 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. The venue prides itself on featuring up-and-comers as well as legends.
“We had one sell out and thought it was fun,” Christopher explained. “The thirteenth time it happened we knew we were onto something. Now, we play there every two to three months and pack it out.”
The notoriety the band garnered with their big shows, their success in Nashville and their tours across 22 states currently expresses itself in their 2017 Hall of Fame tour.
This year, Journey will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Resurrection is honoring this with a tour, which will bring them through Oklahoma via the McSwain Theatre.
Christopher said the band is hoping to recreate a Journey concert experience, the true essence of it.
“Journey’s music hits a switch, brings back memories, personal battles or loves and losses. All of those things connect you,” Christopher explained.
He said he sees Journey’s music as a way to say to the audience, “I see you. You’re a Journey fan? I’m a Journey fan, too. And guess what? It’s probably for the same reasons. We grew up on them. We love their lyrics. The songs are passionately played. It connects us.”
Christopher said nothing would bring him more joy than to have an audience member come up after a show and thank the band for letting them remember.
“I feel kind of like a dream weaver. If I can give someone an experience to hold onto, that’s what it’s all for,” he said.
For band and tour information, or to listen to their music, visit Resurrection’s website www.notjourney.com.
For ticket information, contact the McSwain Theatre at 580-332-8108 or check online at www.McSwainTheatre.com. Follow theatre updates at Facebook.com/McSwainTheatre or Twitter.com/McSwainTheatre.