By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Mark Cox kept his ticket in his front pocket Sunday. He'd waited too long and traveled too far to risk not seeing the band Journey perform
"I've been a Journey fan for 25 years," said Cox, who lives in Port Stewart, Northern Ireland. "I never thought I'd see [a Journey concert]."
Cox, 39, was in the sellout crowd Sunday night in the fair grandstand when Peter Frampton and Journey performed.
He arrived Thursday as part of a Kent State University work-study program for nurses.
It's Cox's first trip to the United States.
Changed his plans
Cox, who works as a nurse manager, said he had been slated to come to the United States and start the program at the end of September, then he checked the Internet and learned that Journey would be performing at the fair.
"I don't care what I have to pay, as long as I'm here to see it," Cox said. He asked his boss if he could make the trip three weeks early to see the concert and the answer was yes.
"I think they want to keep us happy," Cox said of his boss.
Cox sent an e-mail message to Fair Manager Bev Fisher asking for more information about the concert. Fisher said she thought the e-mail was a joke until Cox sent his credit card information to the fair.
"I think it's kind of neat," she said. "He must be a big fan or he wouldn't do this."
Cox said he became a Journey fan when he was 14 and he first heard the group's music. He doesn't remember what originally attracted him to the group.
Journey is a classic-rock band that has produced 16 albums and is best known for songs like "Don't Stop Believing," "Faithfully," and "Open Arms."
The band peaked in 1988 with the release of their greatest hits album, which was certified 10 times platinum.
Taking a ribbing
"This is not a popular band in Britain anymore," Cox said. He said that one of his friends jokingly criticizes him for liking a band that was popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
"He laughs at me, he thinks I'm boring and in the past," Cox said. "That's too bad. I like what I like."
Cox said Journey songs were played at his wedding, and that his wife likes Journey, "because I like it." The couple has two daughters, ages 5 and 9.
Journey's latest album, "Arrival," was recorded with new singer Steve Augeri.
He replaces frontman Steve Perry, who led the band during the 1980s and 1990s.
Augeri has been criticized for sounding too similar to Perry. Cox, however, said he had no problem with Augeri's vocals.
Cox added he thought he would never have the opportunity to see Journey because he didn't think the band would perform in Great Britain.
"I've waited a long time for this concert," he said.