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Former Journey frontman Steve Perry joins Eels on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul

Steve Perry on stage / Fitzgerald Theater photo / Tom Campbell

In this day and age, it takes a lot to surprise and delight a concert audience. But Mark Oliver Everett, AKA the man behind the moody indie rock band Eels, managed to charm the heck out of a whole lot of people at the Fitzgerald Theater Sunday night, when he brought former Journey frontman Steve Perry to the stage for the third encore to sing a few songs.

They started out with the Eels song “It’s a Motherf****r,” which Perry has previously posted on an iTunes celebrity playlist, then proceeded to play two Journey hits, “Open Arms” and “Lovin’ Touchin’, Squeezin’”.

Cake in 15 has a great rundown of the collective excitement that ensued when Everett brought out Perry, including video of the first song in the encore:

“But it wasn’t until Steve Perry – Steve “The Voice” Perry from Journey, who hasn’t really sung in 20 some years — was midway through putting his silky spin on “It’s a Motherf****r” as our brains collectively short-circuited that we could even start to realize what was happening, what had happened.”

The Eels-Journey pairing notwithstanding, Perry’s appearance on stage was so mind-boggling because he has been notably absent from public performances, save for a few impromptu singalongs at San Francisco Giants baseball games, for more than 20 years.

By most accounts, it was an excellent Eels show, but when you bring out one of the most iconic voices of 1980s arena rock, that’s what people are going to talk about.

Steve Perry on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater. Photo: Tom Campbell / Fitzgerald Theater

Update: Paul Frank (not not that Paul Frank) shared his video of the entire Eels/Perry set of songs.

Related: Hear Eels perform “On The Ropes, “Accident Prone” and “I’m Your Brave Little Soldier” in The Current studio (2013)

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