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Steve Perry of Journey Performs Live for First Time in 19 Years: Watch Him Sing “Open Arms” and More With the Eels

Oh, Perry! Bearing one of the most distinctive voices in rock, former Journey frontman Steve Perry hasn’t performed live since 1995. But the “Don’t Stop Believin'” singer, now 65, came out of retirement at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn. on Sunday, May 25 — where he was a surprise guest performer with indie-rock band The Eels. As first reported by Yahoo! Music, Perry shocked the 1,000-capacity crowd to croon the Eels’ track “It’s a Motherf—er,” his iconic high-alto trill immediately familiar to fans.

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“I love that song,” Perry explained to the crowd. “When I first met [Everett], I said someday I wanted to sing that song. And tonight is the first time I’ve ever sang it.” Perry then appeased the audience and segued into Journey classics “Open Arms” and “Lovin’ Touchin’, Squeezin’.”

Steve Perry - Journey

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Perry’s nearly twenty-year absence from the concert stage and recording studio can largely be explained by health problems: He’s suffered arthritis, and underwent hip replacement surgery in 1998, and had two melanoma removal surgeries in 2013. He has also been mourning the death of girlfriend Kellie Nash, who lost her breast cancer battle in late 2012.

But his voice and pop cultural relevance has been stronger than ever over the past several years: “Don’t Stop Believin'” was featured prominently on the series finale of Sopranos and during the inaugural season of Glee, the smash Broadway show Rock of Ages and more.

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Watch Perry—sounding great, by the way!—in the video above.

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