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Monday, July 5, 2010

Foreigner, Styx and Kansas live at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit. MI

Foreigner, Styx and Kansas live at DTE Energy Music Theatre June 27th, 2010


You know, many die hard fans of these bands original line ups may say, ‘Why waste your time going to see them, when they’re not the full original acts?’
To a very small degree, there’s some truth to some of that applied to some bands touring the circuit, but sometimes certain acts can be revitalized by doing so.

Many fans also think it’s almost sacrilegious to go out like these bands do and the original members should be ashamed of themselves. This sadly, is a very ‘blinkered’ viewpoint if you ask me. There are many people who never got to see the original line ups due to say a fans age, so in that respect this then gives them the opportunity to see the music performed live ‘with’ at least one or more original members.

The truth of the matter is and simple facts, Foreigner have constantly changed over the years. Styx, well the original drummer died, Dennis DeYoung quit / was fired due to a health condition and the original bassist typically joins the band on stage for one track only each night. He also is HIV positive, but that’s another story. Kansas has also simply been through a number of changes over the years.
Kansas is a band that I personally have grown to enjoy more, since I relocated to the USA back in 2000. I’ve been fortunate to have seen the band before twice live and yes, they fall into the non-original line up bracket, as do all the acts playing tonight.

We unfortunately did not get to see Kansas’ set, as we fortunately got to meet with Foreigner in a meet and greet, which unfortunately crossed over with the time Kansas were onstage.
We did hear some of the classics though and Steve Walsh did sound good, as did the band behind him.
The set included, Point of Know Return, Hold On, Dust in the Wind, Fight Fire with Fire and Carry on Wayward Son.

Styx, quite the live band, who like Kansas I’ve grown to love more and more since being here and have seen them live many times now.

(Styx L-R, Ricky Phillips, James JY Young and Tommy Shaw live at DTE, June 2010 - Photo: Dave Noble. - Thanks Dave!)

They open with rocker ‘Borrowed Time’ and the huge holographic screens behind the band the full width of the back of the stage keep the audience equally entertained with images accompanying the tracks throughout the set.
The band then tease with snippets of ‘Mr. Roboto’ and ‘Rockin’ the Paradise’ before then coming back into ‘Borrowed Time’ and then quickly launch into ‘Grand Illusion.’
A great start and as always, the band looks like they’re having great fun.

(Styx - L-R, Lawrence Gowan, Tommy Shaw and Todd Sucherman - DTE June 2010. Photo: Dave Noble)

Tommy Shaw then gets into chat mode with the crowd, to roars of approval before they kick in ‘Too Much time on My Hands’ and the band are on great form. They are rockin’ at Pine Knob!

‘Lady’ next with Lawrence Gowan doing a great job here and then ‘Lorelei’ follows, meantime for those not in the pavilion, they are getting drenched! The heavens have opened and the rain is seriously coming down cats and dogs for real, thunder and lightning crashing around us all too.

Next a treat from Tommy Shaw’s Damn Yankees days with ‘High Enough.’ Excellent! The crowd is in heaven!

‘Suite Madame Blue’ is followed by ‘Foolin’ Yourself’ where original bassist Chuck Panozzo comes out to join the band.
James ‘JY’ Young takes lead vocals next for ‘Miss America’ and the band are really, clearly enjoying themselves.

Gowan then get his moment with the crowd where he kicks off a musical quiz, asking the crowd to guess and the sing the next line to some classic rock songs including, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and Pink Floyd's ‘Another Brick In The Wall.’
The crowd has no trouble with this and Gowan says, well there’s no getting past you guys, so ‘Come Sail Away,’ as they launch another Styx classic to close their set.
They’re allowed one encore too and rock out with ‘Blue Collar Man.’ Thank you Styx, another great show!

So to Foreigner then ....

(Foreigner - L-R, Mick Jones, Michael Bluestein and Kelly Hansen at DTE June 2010. - Photo: Alun Williams)

Foreigner’s line up today features just one original founder member, but he is the guy who’s always written and produced things, Mick Jones who like myself, is originally from Portsmouth, England.
Mick has a talented bunch of guys backing him up these days though and Kelly Hansen (Vocals) has been onboard for the past 5 years and can certainly cover the Lou Gramm material admirably!

Jeff Pilson (Bass – ex-Dio and Dokken) has also been on board since just before Hansen joined, Thom Gimbel has been onboard since 1995, playing guitar, sax, flute and keys, the band is completed by keys man Michael Bluestein (Since 2008) and recently joined drummer Jason Sutter.

(Foreigner - L-R, Kelly Hansen, Jason Sutter, Jeff Pilson and Thom Gimbel - DTE June 2010. Photo: Alun Williams.)

The band starts rocking with ‘Double Vision’ before wasting no time keeping the momentum with ‘Head Games.’ Then it’s the classic ‘Cold as Ice,’ then the title track of the bands’ latest album ‘Can’t Slow Down’ which was accepted well. Encouraging start!

(Mick Jones - DTE June 2010. Photo: Alun Williams.)

(Foreigner's Jason Sutter - At back - Jeff Pilson and Thom Gimbel live at DTE June 2010. Photo: Alun Williams.)

Any, ‘Dirty White Boy’s’ here tonight is the question for the next classic Foreigner track and they really have open their set well.
These guys have always entertained in my eyes live, no big flashy light show – although the back drop screen was better than anything I’ve seen Foreigner have since the days of Foreigner ‘4’ tour.

Kelly Hansen then asks the crowd nicely, ‘… would it be OK to just play one more new song?’
Huge roar of approval, silly question Kelly and cue ‘the pop ballad single, ‘In Pieces.’
Bet the crowd wished they’d answered, ‘No!’ The track really does drops the pace here.
Slight distortion seemed a little apparent and the keyboards throughout the song were totally controlling here.
Kelly thanks the crowd for ‘… allowing us to play that. Now, I’ll hand you all over to Mick, the founder of the band! Mick Jones!’

Mick tells some story about how he came to write this next track so many years ago, after …, ‘perhaps indulging in one thing or another.’ Starrider starts with some nice flute work from the very talented Thom Gimbel and the huge screens back up the songs’ almost psychedelic like vibe with a modern psychedelia like effect. Mick is totally in his glory with this track, as he really gets to let loose on guitar somewhat more than he does anywhere else in the set.

Band introductions next from Mick, before Kelly guides us into ‘Feels Like The First Time,’ which has the crowd whooping and screaming with delight. There was some slight feedback midway into the song, but it passed.

The keyboards and drums provide a somewhat lengthy intro to next song ‘Urgent’ which also brings out Thom Gimbel again on brass now, with some fine sax work this time and this song is just great, how it builds and just grows.
The band then bring out members of a local youth choir from Rochester Hillls to join them on, ‘I Want to know What Love Is,’ nice touch guys.

(Kelly Hansen and Mick Jones - DTE June 2010. Photo: Alun Williams)

To close the set, ‘Hot Blooded’ with an intro I didn’t recognise and you’d never really guess where the song was going, but the screen behind really gave it away.
Mick is in rocking form to riff out here and plays an extended solo, which is great!

The band leave, but you know they can’t leave us hanging too long, I mean the crowd has loved the set.
The applause, screams and whistles bring the band back out for ‘Juke Box Hero,’ with a great accompanying video on the big screens, excellent!

I’d really looked forward to this show and was very glad to have finally made it!
Miss this triple bill at your serious loss!

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