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
"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.