UPDATE: Perry joined Eels onstage for the second time this week on Saturday, May 31st during the band’s show at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. He sang four songs: Eels’ “It’s a Motherfucker,” Sam Cooke’s “Only Sixteen,” and Journey’s “Open Arms” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”
Reclusive former Journey frontman Steve Perry returned to the stage for the first time in 19 years, joining alt-rockers Eels for a handful of songs during their second encore at a St. Paul, Minnesota gig Sunday night. As Eels frontman Mark Everett said by way of introduction, Perry walked away from the rock star life “because it didn’t feel right,” adding, “And for some reason only known to him, he feels like tonight in St. Paul, Minnesota, it feels right.”
That reason might’ve been the opportunity to lead Eels through their expletive-laced ballad “It’s a Motherfucker.” While Perry’s vocals have grown gruffer and scratchier with age, his pipes still packed the same potent, pained arena-ready punch they did back in the day. After finishing the cut, Perry said, “I’ve told [Everett] over and over again, ‘I love that song.’ When I first met him, I couldn’t believe it. [I said], ‘Someday, I want to sing that song.'”
While Perry got to live out one of his dreams, Eels didn’t let the singer leave without belting out a couple of his own classics: Journey’s “Open Arms” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin.'” Check out the entire performance above.
After releasing two solo albums and Journey’s 1996 effort Trial By Fire, Perry stepped away from the music world, partly due to medical issues including a bad hip and arthritis. But it looks as if Perry is ready to return to the microphone, with AWOLNATION frontman Aaron Bruno telling Rolling Stone last year that they were working with Perry on their new record. “We became friends,” he said. “It feels weird for me to talk about — I feel like I’m bragging about how this legend likes the music I’ve written. But he asked for my number. He reached out to me.”