Show Review: Foreigner St Augustine Amphitheatre
Foreigner has always been a band that pushed boundaries and embraced gimmicky sex appeal. 40 years later, on an anniversary tour most bands from their genre never made it to, they stayed true to form. We were treated to nearly painted on skinny jeans, mic stands and drum sticks thrown high, and a great light show.
Foreigner managed to play nearly every recognizable hit including some departures and reinventions of songs now almost 40 years old. “Cold as Ice”, “Jukebox Hero”, and “Hot Blooded” were given an electrified energy. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” was croony and heartfelt in a way only 80s arena rock will ever be – basically the rock and roll equivalent of the Lifetime channel.
Mick Jones wasn’t present that evening, something which was (as usual) not addressed onstage, but only amongst whispers in the crowd of “Where’s Mick?” and “I hope Mick is doing alright”. Despite Mick not showing out, Dennis Elliott and Rick Wills joined the band at the end of their set, giving us more of the original lineup than anyone would have expected from the evening.
Perhaps because Kansas opened the night with a very authentic and musical performance, the band’s current lead singer Kelly Hansen (originally of Hurricane) appeared to be trying too hard. His stage performance seemed to have come directly from studying Mick Jagger performances, from the hair, to the pushed-up lip, to mic stands rode around and thrown in the air like desperate groupies. At times, there appeared to be heavy live auto-tuned utilized and at another time Hansen clearly reached for a switch to turn his wireless mic off during a note that was belted for over four bars. In comparison to Lou Gramm, his energy and vocal delivery made sense, but were just not as good as the genuine music and seductiveness we have all come to expect from Foreigner over the past 40 years.
There were many moments during that cool St. Augustine night where we could see why Foreigner was the headliner for the night, and why they have been selling out shows for four decades. We were treated to a raw and emotional acoustic arrangement of “Say You Will” including beautiful harmonies and a gorgeous acoustic bassline, as a sample of some stripped-down arrangements the group offered. Over a minute of jazzy experimentation on the saxophone solo for “Urgent” could have ended the show but the band had more in store than that.
Toward the end of the night (which ended early for a rock show per local noise ordinance), a local high school choir joined the group on “I Wanna Know What Love Is” which was of course adorable. But it was a reminder of what the band has become now. A group that apologized for young ears before the monologue preceding “Feels Like the First Time” encouraging [everyone over the age of 40 to go back to when they didn’t give a shit, before the divorces and the kids …when you probably had indiscrete relations with someone you shouldn’t have]. There were no undergarments thrown on stage and no lighters in the air.
It might be a different time and a different lineup for Foreigner but they have an ongoing and intense energy and creative which will likely drive them on. I look forward to 50th and 60th anniversary tours from this group as their sound continues to develop and evolve.
What do you think about Foreigners future? Let us know
Show review – Kansas in St. Augustine
Lou Gramm show review: Lou Gramm at Hard Rock
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