Saturday, September 16, 2006


*Edited--see bottom

While this will be nowhere near as good as Dim's, March's, or Rusty's reviews, I'll try my best!

September 14, 2006
York Fair

"Are you ready to get your Styx on?!" yelled Tommy Shaw at the beginning of the show. Yes, Styx is missing some original members, most notably Dennis DeYoung, the voice of the band, but this didn't put a damper on the fans' excitement Thursday night. The not even half-full grandstand screamed, clapped, and sang along to classics as well as some newer material. I was surprised at the mix of people. I figured it would be me and a bunch of middle-aged guys with mullets but all ages and genders were represented. I was supposed to go with Rusty, but instead I went with her dad, a man who loved classic rock before it was classic.

The original lineup of Styx included DeYoung, who is now doing solo work, John Panozzo, who has passed away, Chuck Panozzo, James Young, and John Curulewski. Curulewski left the band in the mid-70s and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. Since then, the band has dealt with decades of changing lineups. Members have left the band, been replaced, and returned, which brings us to the current line-up of Tommy Shaw on guitars and vocals, James Young also on guitars and vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums and vocals, Lawrence Gowan on keyboard and vocals, Ricky Phillips on bass and vocals, and Chuck Panozzo on bass and vocals. Panozzo has performed with the band as his health permits since he contracted AIDS in the late 90s; he was not at this show.

The band had tremendous energy and played for about 90 minutes which is incredible for men who are getting up there in age. They put today's crappy modern rock bands to shame. You could tell they were all having the times of their lives. They opened the set with Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) and the bass rocked the grandstand so hard that I felt like I had to puke. Now that's rock and roll! Gowan was absolutely fascinating to watch. The skinny man dressed in a suit complete with a vest was into the music the whole time. He had a revolving keyboard on a little platform and he was jumping up on top of it, playing it backwards, spinning it around, and running all over the stage when he wasn't playing. The other guys' guitar acrobatics were just as fun, and Scherman, while obviously limited in his stage movement, played dynamically.

After Blue Collar Man, the band played The Grand Illusion and Too Much Time on My Hands. After that I leaned over to Rusty's dad and said, "They HAVE to play Lady," and not two seconds later came the piano intro. The crowd went crazy. Miss America followed, and then Gowan had a keyboard solo of classical music that totally geeked me out since I love the combination of rock and classical. They did I am the Walrus, a Beatles cover from their 2005 album, Big Bang Theory. Afterwards Gowan came to the front of the stage for audience participation. He sang parts of other classic rock songs like Deep Purple's "Hush," Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls," and Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band," and we completed them. When he had us complete lyrics to Come Sail Away, the crowd went crazy again and Gowan ran to his keyboard, beginning that song in a spotlight while the rest of the stage was dark. Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man) followed. The finale was Renegade, easily recognizable by the heartbeat-like introduction.

I can see how people think Styx is cheesy, but I CANNOT get behind thinking they suck. Gowan was the perfect replacement for DeYoung. His vocals may not be as strong, but I think only hard core fans should be able to find fault. This was hands down the best concert I've ever been to. Say what you will, but 15 studio albums, 7 live albums, and 8 compilations later, fans are still more than happy to get their Styx on.

*Big Bang Theory came out in 2005, not 1995.


Blogger Dim said...

FANTASTIC review! I've seen Styx twice and neither has been with the classic lineup. The first time was with all of them EXCEPT Tommy and the second was basically the lineup you saw.

I still dig them, and I really don't care what anyone says. And Tommy Shaw is a guitar god. I stand by that statement.

Great job!

- D.

9/16/2006 6:49 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

*sobs quietly*

I should have been there!

Jenny, that review was amazing...I'm glad my dad could be there to enjoy it with you, and I absolutely loved that line about him being "a man who loved classic rock before it was classic." So true.

I'm happy that you enjoyed yourself, but it's bittersweet, since I couldn't be there, too. :(

9/16/2006 8:59 PM  
Blogger pog mo thoin said...

I LOVE Styx. They are cheesy, they do rock and I loved everything except "Mr. Roboto" and you know what? The worst thing about Styx was Dennis DeYoung in my opinion. His voice was great but he was ultra-annoying in the '80s. Good Riddance! Good thing they did Renegade. I would be waiting all night for that one.

9/16/2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

Can't get behind your Styx love, but that's okay. You gotta go with what you like.

I've been short on time (ridiculously so since the boys started school again) so forgive if I'm late on this: I love your new tag line under your profile. Not sure when you changed it, but I just noticed today. "a penchant for gay man music" Heh! So, Kylie Minogue is big in your household, then?

9/16/2006 9:54 PM  
Blogger Hotwire said...

nice job! the first concert that i ever saw was styx in 1978 on the 'pieces of eight' tour and 'renegade' rocked the house

9/17/2006 6:53 AM  
Blogger J. said...

I've always been partial to Styx, but more impressive is the review you've written.

I think we've got a new career (or at least sideline) calling you, Jen.


9/17/2006 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Styx cool post!! I'm usually a lurker but love your blog!!!

Thinking I'll add it to my daily reads if that is okay...


9/18/2006 2:55 AM  
Blogger March to the Sea said...

well done. it sounds like it was a blast and bottom line..that is what matters!

9/18/2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Dim - Thanks! I agree with the Tommy Shaw statement.

Rusty - Thanks! I wish you were there!

Pog - I love Mr. Roboto. It's cheesily delicious!

Katie - I changed it a few months ago. No Kylie, but plenty of Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club.

Hot - I wish I could have seen them back in the day.

J - Thanks, I'm blushing! That means a lot coming from you.

Ramblin - Go ahead! I keep meaning to add yours too, but I'm slacking on the blog front.

March - Thanks; it was.

9/18/2006 8:16 PM  

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