Styx Orlando Concert Review
When classic rock bands hit the road, you never know what you are going to see. Is it going to be an incredible concert or a bunch of old has-beens trying to relive their youth and cash in one last paycheck?
Yesterday, Styx came into town and played at our local House of Blues (Orlando). My wife and another couple decided to attend this concert and hoped for the best. From the moment they came on stage and opened with “The Grand Illusion,” we knew that this band still rocked. Tommy Shaw, James Young, Todd Sucherman, Lawrence Gowan and Ricky Phillips gave us a performance that left nothing to the imagination.
These talented performers, played for 2 hours and looked liked they truly enjoyed being on stage. Their music was sharp and fun. You know that these guys work hard on stage when my wife said, “Tommy has smaller jeans than I do”. None of these members were washed-up overweight has-beens just standing still and playing. After their opening number, Styx followed up with a powerful combination of “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Fooling Yourself” and their first hit, “Lady.”
With the absence of former vocalist Dennis DeYoung, Lawrence Gowan had the job of singing some of Styx’s key songs. Lets just say, he is not Dennis, but tried hard. Some of the other hits that stood out were “Mademoiselle,” and “Suite Madame Blue” which both were outstanding.
The band was animated all night, and were constantly bouncing around the stage. With Shaw changing guitars on every song, his rendition of “Crystal Ball,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself” were spot on. His talent on the guitar and his voice are both strong. Gowan’s keyboards rotated throughout the show and he put on quite a show spinning around his riser. The stage was quite elaborate for the cozy venue with ramps behind the drum kit and copious lighting.
One of my friend Tammy’s personal favorites, “Come Sail Away” had the packed house singing and dancing. After about 2 hours, Styx finished up with “Rocking The Paradise” and “Renegade.” It was a great, fun and entertaining concert but let’s just say that if Tommy Shaw wasn’t there, then Styx would have been a Grand Illusion.
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If anyone is looking for a fun, inexpensive show to go and see, check out Hell’s Bells. They are a cover band out of Kentucky and can really put on a show.
For 2 hours, I could almost believe that I “might be” at a AC/DC concert. The band was loud and had plenty of energy to get the crowd’s fists pumping all night long. I was happy to hear “Thunderstruck” as the opening song and was not disappointed by the guitar showmanship. Everything from Hell’s Bells (with a smaller bell onstage) , to the firing cannons of “For Those About to Rock.”
The set list also included: “Big Balls,” “Have a Drink On Me” and my personal favorite “Whole Lotta Rosie.” So if you put up with the fact that their lead singers is a tad larger than the real Brian Johnson and the lead guitarist reminded me of my science teacher in high school, then I know you will be entertained all night long.
With a cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song” pouring through the PA system, Flogging Molly exploded onto the stage at House of Blues, Orlando last night.
The Detroit based rock band with Irish punk roots, brought their sold out 6th Annual Green 17 Tour to the City Beautiful. After taking the stage, the band immediately ripped into “Drunken Lullabies” and the fever-pitched party was underway. By the time they wrapped up “Requiem For a Dying Song,” the capacity crowd had morphed into a writhing, bouncing, screaming mass of flesh.
They are touring in support of their recent Speed of Darkness release, one that is filled with lyrics addressing the dire straits most Americans suddenly find themselves in. From “The Power’s Out,” Dave King sang “The power’s out, just like the economy.”
Flogging Molly fans are a passionate bunch. The band rarely gets a sniff of airplay, even over the satellite airwaves, but the Mollies’ fans know every lyric to virtually every song in their diverse catalog. They’ve put their passionate fans before commercial success and the fans love to repay that loyalty. This night, they were in for a treat, as front man and guitarist Dave King announced they’d be digging deep into their library and reviving some of their older tunes.
Watching the show as more of an independent observer, I can share that the quality of the musicianship is impressive. Dennis Casey’s lead riff’s were powerful all night, and his duet with drummer George Schwindt during a rollicking extended version of “Black Friday Rule” was an interesting and engaging twist on the classic guitar solo route. Nathan Maxwell on bass and Robert Schmidt on banjo had their shining moments, too; Maxwell on “Saints and Sinners” and Schmidt on “The Son Never Shines.”
Matthew Hensley’s accordion and King’s wife, Bridget Regan, on tin whistle and violin were the perfect complement to their hard rocking band mates. Regan also did a nice job taking the lead vocals on “A Prayer for Me in Silence.”
King writes the music and is clearly the heart of the band, he’s an accomplished guitar player and offers a unique, powerful and emotive voice. He commands the stage, conducts the audience throughout and was witty and engaging. A fantastic front man who absolutely appears to be enjoying this gig.
The crowd sang along, danced and moshed all night, and truly reached a fever pitch during “Swagger,” “The Likes of You Again,” and “Revolution.” It was an impressive site watching the mass of fans singing, chanting and gesturing at King’s biding.
The band wrapped up the set with a rocking version of “Seven Deadly Sins,” that again had the crowd bellowing along. In a nice nod to the band’s Irish roots, the fervid crowd pulled them back onto the stage with a rollicking soccer chant of “Ole.” King returned to the stage, congratulating the U.S Soccer team for their recent match, and slid into a relatively relaxed cover of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing.”
From there it was back to the fever pitch as the crowd deliriously sang along to “Salty Dog”. At the end of the song, they brought up the house lights and the PA pumped out Monty Python’s “Bright Side of Life.” The band gradually exited the stage, as the fully satisfied fans slid through the doors into the Darkness.
The setlist and a link to the band’s excellent 3 disc live album are provided below.
Devil Makes Three, a unique punkish-Americana trio out of Vermont opened the show. They had a great original sound and featured a guitarist, a banjo player complete with Gibbon-esque beard and woman on stand-up bass. No drummer, and they didn’t need one. Their enrgertic thirty minute set absolutely left me craving for more.
Black Joe Lewis followed up and warmed up the raucous crowd with a powerful and passionate set. The seven man wrecking crew absolutely left it all on the stage and tore through an invigorating 45 minute set. The crowd actually pulled them out for an encore, where they treated us with a fun cover version of “Surfin Bird.” Good stuff and an excellent prelude to the main act.
Rock On! – Cretin
Requiem For a Dying Song
The Speed of Darkness
Life In a Tenement Square
Whistles the Wind
Saints and Sinners
The Likes of You Again
The Power’s Out
The Son Never Shines
A Prayer For Me in Silence
Us of Lesser Gods
Black Friday Rule long version with Guitar/Drum duet interspersed
Devil’s Dance Floor
Rebels of the Sacred Heart
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
What’s Left of the Flag
Seven Deadly Sins
Times They are A-Changing (Dylan Cover)
Mike Ness and Social Distortion delivered a powerful set at House of Blues in Orlando last night in front of an electric and packed House. Ness has long epitomized the consummate bad-ass rock and roll front man and he still carries that torch.
Social D is touring in support of Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, their first studio album in the past seven years. Still they only included two songs from the latest album: “Machine Gun Blues” and “Bakersfield.” Instead of shamelessly pushing the new tunes, they reached deep into their catalog, featuring classics from the past three decades, and throwing in a few nice surprises along the way. Perfect for the fervid fans in attendance.
The band exploded onto the stage with a powerful version of “1945” and immediately ratcheted it up a notch when they moved into crowd favorite, 1983’s “Daddy’s Little Monster,” which pushed the considerably-sized mosh pit into a fever pitch. Then it was directly into their current hit “Machine Gun Blues” and a great singalong version of “Bad Luck” before Ness finally caught his breath.
Ness was energetic and engaged the crowd all night. His signature vocals may have been even a bit more raspy at this point in his career, but still sounded strong considering his three decades of heavy touring.
Longtime sidekick Jonny Wickershamm was back on guitar. He and Ness traded off the lead throughout the evening while bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo, Jr kept the hard driving rhythm guiding the set all night. The only issue all night was that the sound mix was a little muddy – especially earlier in the show.
Other setlist highlights included “Story of My Life,” “So Far Away” and another fun singalong, this time to “Six More Miles” – an old Hank Williams cover. The band closed the core sixty minute set with “Nickels and Dimes.”
For the encore, they took the pitch up a notch and started with “Dear Lover” and “Don’t Drag Me Down” before closing it out with powerful versions of fan favorites “Prison Bound” and their fantastic cover of “Ring of Fire.”
Eighty minutes of energy and passion with a set-list clearly designed with the fans in mind; a great night with the greatest hard rocking punkabilly band ever.
- Mommy’s Little Monster
- Machine Gun Blues
- Bad Luck
- So Far Away
- King of Fools
- Story Of My Life
- Sweet & Lowdown
- Reach for the Sky
- Six More Miles (Hank Williams cover)
- Nickels and Dimes
- Dear Lover
- Don’t Drag Me Down
- Prison Bound
- Ring of Fire
Checkout our video snippets of the show on our YouTube channel: Social D in Orlando