Ok, so you’ve sold 80 million albums as lead guitarist with Journey – that is 80000000 albums – as well as playing with Santana (he was 15 and the album was Santana III), Bad English and scads of other albums. So, what’s next?

In the case of Neal Schon a double CD that features all instrumentals that range from the face melting shred to sentimental music that Kenny G would wet his pants to dream of. I don’t think anyone ever doubted his talent with a guitar but this knocked me back on my heels big time.

Schon says of the album “This is an evolutionary album for me, I’ve always aspired to be a better player and push musical boundaries. And sure, I’ve sold 80-million records with Journey, and I’m proud of that, but this album is really me — all based on my guitar, which is my ‘voice.’ It’s bold. There’s love, and there’s definitely fire and an element of danger. And the energy level is off the hook.”
Grandiose statements but the album actually bears him out too.

There are huge splashes of soundscape on tracks like ‘Tortured Souls’ and romantic pieces like the elegies to his wife ‘Lady M’ & ‘Triumph Of Love’. The album opener ‘Miles Beyond’ is a tribute to Miles Davis and metal/jazz fusion in numbers like ‘Schon & Hammer Now’ which is based around a furious jam between Schon & keyboardist (and longtime friend and associate)Jan Hammer.

The strengths of the album are in some magnificent playing and truly evocative numbers, changes in pace and direction that leave your head spinning and delicate aural etchings that give way to massive themes and bombast. The weakness is that Neal Schon has so much talent and flies in so many directions that you sometimes lose track of the album – personally I just take that as an excuse to go back and listen again until I ‘get it’.

Undoubtedly brilliant and hugely enjoyable and he manages to avoid coming over as a ‘widdler’ but sometimes only just.