In 1981, Steve Perry of Journey performed a live rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'” that proved why many publications ranked him as one of the best singers of all time. The group’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” had become an international smash earlier in the year. The band showcased their incredible musicianship on the single, which would later become their hallmark song, during a 1981 performance in Houston, Texas.

Perry has an incredibly effortless way with his voice, and he sings the song with a birdlike quality. Additionally, he possesses that magnetic charm of a rock star and gets the crowd going wild. Many commenters have noted that, despite the difficulty of doing so, Perry sounds even better in concert than on record. See below for an HD remaster of Journey’s 1981 performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'” that they uploaded to their YouTube channel.

With 274 million views, the 1981 live version of “Don’t Stop Believin'” was clearly a hit with the audience. This video is third most popular on Journey’s YouTube channel and first overall for live performances. The band’s recent seventh studio album, Escape, was supported by their Escape Tour, which is where the recording was taken.

On November 5th and 6th, 1981, Journey performed two gigs in Houston as part of their tour. Nevertheless, the specific night of recording for “Don’t Stop Believin'” remains a mystery. It appears like the band was absolutely ripping in 1981 during the Escape tour, because “Who’s Crying Now”—also recorded in Houston during the trip—is the band’s second most popular live performance on YouTube.

“No Auto-Tune, no backing tracks, just some amazing musicians who have left their mark quite clearly way, way up there” and “Steve Perry sings this song like that kid who doesn’t study a lick but walks into the final exam and aces it” were some of the comments added by fans who were really impressed by Journey’s live rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'” in Houston. Very simple.

Both domestically and internationally, “Don’t Stop Believin'” reached the top ten. Over time, the song became Journey’s most popular single, and it went on to receive 18 US Platinum certifications.