Neal Schon talks about Journey's nine-date residency in Las Vegas

Neal Schon talks about Journey's nine-date residency in Las Vegas
Journey plays nine dates at the Hard Rock Hotel, starting this Wednesday. (Travis Shinn)

Rock band Journey starts its nine-date residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel Wednesday, April 29 through Saturday, May 16. What can fans expect? We sat down with founder Neal Schon, who plays lead guitar and sings backing vocals, to talk about the show. Schon was in the midst of recording with singer and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana

What are you planning to do with your nine-date set at the Hard Rock Hotel?

We'll be mixing it up. We have a lot of songs in our repertoire. We'll be recording and filming all nine shows for a hopeful DVD. When you film and record, you don't want to record the same songs, so we'll be playing a lot from the past.

Are you going to do something special that you can't do on tour?
We have five or six songs everybody wants to hear, and we will throw things at you. Five or six songs are mandatory in the set every night. After that, everything else is moveable. We'll have five or six other songs in the next show.

What about the set itself?
We are going to come in with our production crew with these amazing lights and an amazing screen in the back. The sound is the most important thing.

You worked with Carlos Santana in the past. Any chance we will see him on stage with you?
I've been recording with Carlos Santana and we've been knocking stuff out. I would think there would be a high chance of that with the length of time we're in town and his residency here. He did play with us the last time we were in Las Vegas.

You're probably going to have repeat audiences. Will you be doing any cover songs or songs from deep in your catalog that we don't normally hear?
We haven't gotten that far yet. As time goes on, we'll get a call from whomever to perform with us. Then you have the fight, and that brings in a lot of people.

When you look out at the crowd at The Joint, who do you expect to see?
Every night, it's pretty mixed. I definitely feel like there will be three to four generations out there.

Do you think that you draw the younger crowds because "Don't Stop Believin'" was the final song on "The Sopranos?"
Actually I think the young ones, those who are 12 and younger, can be more attributed to "Glee" doing our songs. "The Sopranos" was a monumental kick.

Did you know "The Sopranos" was going to use your song?
I received an email that was sent to our management that David Chase was contemplating using the song a few months before the final show. I was so busy always working in the studio, and before you knew it, it was there. I was working, and my phone started blowing up. That was the last thing anyone saw.

Do you remember your first trip to Las Vegas?
Boy, all I remember is we played some really funky place. It was probably 1973 or 1974 and I think we played the old Tropicana. I can't remember. Honestly, I've been touring since I was 15 with Santana and I've pretty much played everywhere you could possibly play in the world.

Do you remember the first thing that shocked you in Las Vegas?
I don't remember ever being shocked. The only thing that shocked me was being in Santana. I was 15 and I had to get consent from my parents to tour with the band. We went to Africa, all over Europe. That was a major shock for me.

Tickets to Journey Las Vegas start at $59.50.

Tickets: Hard Rock Hotel box office, (888) 929-7849