Each Throwback Thursday, I try to pick a timely song or band to feature for our Song of the Day. Earlier today I noticed that Styx was headlining a show at The Villages this weekend… yeah that Villages… old folks, golf carts and sexually transmitted diseases… Continue reading TBT – Styx Flashback→
This is a classic rock show absolutely worth seeing. Def Leppard will be playing Orlando’s Amway Center on Saturday, January 30th in support of their recently announced new studio album. They’ll be joined by Styx and Tesla, making this an excellent triple bill.
And unlike so many classic bands touring today with tenuous links to the line-ups from their glory days – these line-ups are laced with original members!
I’ve had this album for about a month now, and really struggled with putting together a meaningful review. At the end of the day, I am not going to profess that I achieved creating something meaningful – but at this point in time, it’s all that I’ve got…
“Besides the Rolling Stones tour, the Def Leppard/Styx/Tesla show is the biggest classic rock tour of the summer” according to the Bradenton Herald, and RARAsFarm hit the road to see them on the first night of their summer tour!
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On Tuesday night, the classic rock legends kicked off their 60 city tour on a thunderous night in Tampa.
Almost as soon as we arrived at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, the skies opened up with some torrential rains and an amazing lightning show that lasted long enough to cancel Tesla.
Since the Amphitheatre was not letting folks in until the lightning stopped we tailgated in the parking lot and endured a lengthy delay, before finally slipping in to find several thousand people already jumping in and out of their drenched seats to the legendary Styx. We, however, only got to catch a few of their songs, which was amplified by the fact that they had to shorten their setlist due to time, noise ordinances, and the desire to let Def Leppard perform their entire setlist.
They still dished out a hit-packed set, including “The Grand Illusion,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Foolin’ Yourself,” “Miss America” and “Blue Collar Man,” before closing their night with rollicking versions of “Come Sail Away” and “Renegade” which every single person in attendance sang along to. The stage backdrop featured album covers, as Tommy Shaw (vocals and guitar) took charge of the crowd and entertained us all by prowling the stage with fervid enthusiasm, shouting out to the crowd “All you fabulous brave people who are out here braving the lightning – thank you!”
The crowd was immediately on their feet as Def Leppard took the stage and started singing “Rock! Rock! Till You Drop.” The band, all nearing 60, still look like the consummate rock and roll animals they have been since the 80’s. And, on this night, they boasted a clear British flair. The band is an anomaly in today’s classic rock landscape, as they still feature their original line-up – a rare treat.
Phil Collen, strutted around the stage shirtless, showing off his buff chest, donning a special guitar he received as a gift for his 50th birthday which reads London 1957 in bold black letters. Vocalist Joe Elliot had his mic stand wrapped in a British Flag, while drummer, Rick Allen, had the flag emblazoned on the large headphones he wore, and bassist Rick Savage played a bass guitar with the flag painted on it.
“Tonight we set the limit – this is where it all starts – 59 more shows!” Elliott also announced to the crowd on behalf of their old tourmates, Tesla, that “they’re really sorry they couldn’t play – let’s give them a round of applause”.
Elliott and his bandmates owned the stage and the crowd as they delivered hits such as “Animal,” “Foolin’,” “Love Bites,” “Armageddon It,” “Rocket,” “Hysteria” and “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” They also offered up a cool cover version of David Essex’s “Rock On.”
As Elliott introduced Def Leppard, he specifically wanted to give a shout out to their long time guitarist Vivian Campbell who was out in LA visiting with doctors, who he “hoped to see him back on the road in a couple days.” Campbell has been fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma and has since noted on their webpage that he will be rejoining the tour Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama! Trixter guitarist Steve Brown filled in wonderfully for this show, highlighted by a jam session after “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.”
Other highlights included a phenomenal bass solo by Rick Savage, and a nice acoustic version of “Two Steps Behind” from Joe Elliott. Barefoot drummer Rick Allen did a bit of a drum solo that had everyone cheering!
They closed their set with “Pour some Sugar on Me” which had the entire crowd singing along. The crowd begged for more, and after a brief break, drummer Rick Allen uttered the famous words “gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen” which started the encore “Rock of Ages.” They ended the night with their timeless hit “Photograph” and Elliot’s words: “Until next time – and there WILL be a next time!”
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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.