Date: June 20, 2010
Venue: Bank of America Pavillion, Boston, MA
Foreigner, Styx and Kansas concluded Corporate Concert Week on a high note.
Kansas was the special guest and played a fairly predicable set featuring the requisite “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on my Wayward Son” but also some of my favorites like “Icarus” and “Miracles out of Nowhere”. Robby Steinhardt (the old violin player) was missed but his replacement seemed to have stage presence and certainly was technically capable.
My college days occurred right before ipods became commonplace, so during my commute I’d bring a collection of CDs for my disc man. For 2 years this would usually include at least one Styx CD. I had a nostalgic smile on my face during the Styx set as it reminded me of my lonely college walks during the early 2000′s. I shared that bond with the rest of the audience who were nostalgic for their college days in the early 70′s.
So many bands these days play it calm and cool but I welcomed the flamboyance that was Styx, who weren’t afraid to touch backs during their rocking guitar duels. Styx asked themselves ”Are we cool enough to sing into each other’s mics? Are we cool enough to play our guitars behind our backs? Are we cool enough to stand on our amps and keyboards?”. The audience was glad they answered yes; into each other’s mics of course, in 3-part harmony, one in falsetto.
Tommy Shaw is the obvious star of the band at this point and along with J.D. Young is the original voice of many of the old classics. The missing piece was Dennis DeYoung but Lawrence Gowan seemed to be a solid and equally flamboyant replacement recreating “Lady” and “Come Sail Away” perfectly. His keyboard could spin around 360 degrees adding a flare to his stage presence. While Jordan Rudess was the first person that I saw use this and could certainly outplay Larry technically, Larry could teach Rudess a thing or two about how to put on a show with it.
The best part of the Foreigner set was the fact that I could name only two of their songs before the set started, but I recognized every song (except the 2 new ones). ”Cold as Ice” and “Hot Blooded” were temperature related highlights and some of the only songs that kept an aging audience on their feet. The 2 new songs didn’t seem to go over well as most of the audience either sat down or left for more beer in anticipation for the “Juke Box Hero” encore.
We knew Foreigner had a monster ballad, but until they played the first notes of “I Want to Know Where Love Is” we couldn’t think of a note of it. I would have never guessed that this was Foreigner and it was such a dentist office song that most of us had to resist the urge to spit and rinse afterwards. They brought out a group of high school students to sing along and there was something creepy about a middle age man saying “I want to know where love is and I want you to show me” with a bunch of minors behind him. (Hint to Foreigner: don’t turn around for the answer)