Concert Review: Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
Starlight Theatre, Kansas City MO
August 15th, 2017

Review By: J.R. Deeter

“KHIT Radio….all the Hits, all the Time!!!” Don’t you just hate it when you attend a concert and the bands give you some of their hit songs, the ones you know from radio airplay growing up. Or from the constant hours you spent listening to the albums and cassettes you bought at Musicland? But instead they also play a bunch of songs you do not know….”Here’s one from our 3rd album”….ummm, yeah….time to hit the bathroom and concession stand. Well, there was none of that for the Foreigner 40th Anniversary tour stop at Kansas City’s Starlight outdoor venue (weather was great – just about perfect). If you got out of your seat at all, you missed out.

The show began with the Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience, appropriately starting with “Rock N Roll,” “Black Dog,” “Over the Hills and Far Away”…straight through for a total of nine of Zeppelin’s biggest hits, wrapping it up with “Whole Lotta Love.” No “Stairway to Heaven” (thank you). I’ve never been a huge Zeppelin fan, but it was entertaining, with lead singer James Dylan holding his own on vocals and of course, Jason Bonham in charge from behind the drum kit.

Up next, in my honest opinion, the best part of the whole evening, Cheap Trick. They took the stage, opening their show as always with “Hello There,” then rocking through classics like “Big Eyes” and “Ain’t That A Shame.” They threw in a couple for the ladies, “If You Want My Love” and “The Flame,” then broke out the BIG HITS including “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender.” The band wrapped up their set with “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Goodnight.” Robin Zander’s vocals: still got it. Tom Peterson on Bass: doing fine. Rick Nielsen ROCKS and yes, his son Daxx Nielsen is still the drummer. And, yes, I still miss Bun E. Carlos.

40 years is a long time in the world of rock and roll…most bands never see that kind of longevity. Even with a few years of missing from radio, with no new music, if you’ve ever been on top with monster hits your fans will keep those songs alive. Foreigner is just that kind of band. They brought the best of their best for this show, opening with “Double Vision,” “Head Games” and “Cold as Ice.” They kept going and going, mixing power ballads like “Waiting For A Girl Like You” with rockers like “Dirty White Boy,” “Urgent,” and of course, “Jukebox Hero.” They closed the show, assisted on backing vocals by a choir from the local Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, with their biggest hit to date, “I Wanna Know What Love Is” followed 1978’s “Hot Blooded.”

I enjoyed it all…..while Mick Jones is showing his age at 72, his guitar playing is exceptional. Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, apparently attempting to channel Steven Tyler, can work the crowd well and delivers vocally.

NOTE: Lou Gramm is playing a few shows on the 40th Anniversary tour, but alas, KC was not one.

Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham tour set to launch July 11th in Syracuse, NY

FOREIGNER, CHEAP TRICK AND JASON BONHAM TOUR SET TO LAUNCH
JULY 11th IN SYRACUSE, NEW YORK
TICKETS GO ON SALE JANUARY 13 AT LIVENATION.COM
FOREIGNER’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY ALBUM SET FOR RELEASE MAY 5th
FOREIGNER, the band behind these classic and iconic songs, is turning 40 this year and they’re bringing their friends along for the year-long celebration.
First up is a mammoth worldwide tour, set to launch in Syracuse, NY on July 11th. For the US shows presented by Live Nation, Foreigner will be alongside Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick — who are also celebrating 40 years since the release of their self-titled debut album — and special guest Jason Bonham who will be bringing the music of Led Zeppelin to great night of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets go on sale January 13, 2017 at www.livenation.com.
To coincide with the tour, FOREIGNER–Mick Jones (lead guitar), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals), Tom Gimbel (rhythm guitar, sax, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar) and Chris Frazier (drums)– will be releasing a celebratory 40th anniversary album that features forty FOREIGNER tracks throughout the years entitled 40 – Forty Hits From Forty Years (RHINO). This album is a comprehensive compilation of original hits and several tracks from the current lineup with Kelly Hansen on vocals including “Cant Slow Down,” “Too Late,” and the Top 20 AC hit “When It Comes To Love.” The album also features two new songs, “The Flame Still Burns,” and “Give My Life For Love,” a brand new song by Jones. Rhino is kicking off a year-long catalog promotion with the January 24th picture disc release of Head Games.
Since the 1977 release of their first hit “Feels Like The First Time” and their self-titled debut album on Atlantic Records, FOREIGNER has been universally hailed as one of the world’s most popular rock acts with 10 multi-platinum albums, 16 Top 30 hits, and worldwide album sales exceeding 75 million.  Responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems including “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold as Ice,” “Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent,” “Head Games,” “Say You Will,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Long, Long Way From Home,” and the worldwide #1 hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” FOREIGNER continues to rock the charts more than thirty years into the game.
Recent albums like Juke Box Heroes, a new compilation of digitally recorded Foreigner hits, and The Best of Foreigner 4 & More, recorded live from The Borgata, Atlantic City, both entered the Billboard Top 200 chart. Foreigner also featured strongly in every category in Billboard’s recently released “Greatest of All Time” listing.  Catalog sales often eclipse those of Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Def Leppard, Van Halen and most of their Classic Rock peers (Source: Nielsen SoundScan 2/11/16 – 2/3/16).
Check out the tour at any of the following stops, with more dates to be announced in the coming weeks and posted on the band’s official website. Fans can check out livenation.com for updates on tour dates and news.
DATE
CITY
VENUE
Tue Jul 11
Syracuse, NY
Lakeview Amphitheater
Thu Jul 13
Camden, NJ
BB&T Pavilion
Fri Jul 14
Bethel, NY
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Sat Jul 15
Hershey, PA
Giant Center
Mon Jul 17
Boston, MA
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Tue Jul 18
Saratoga Springs, NY
Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Thu Jul 20
Wantagh, NY
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Fri Jul 21
Darien Center, NY
Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Sat Jul 22
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center
Tue Jul 25
Bristow, VA
Jiffy Lube Live
Wed Jul 26
Virginia Beach, VA
Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
Fri Jul 28
Nashville, TN
Ascend Amphitheater
Sun Jul 30
Pelham, AL
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Tue Aug 01
West Palm Beach, FL
Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
Wed Aug 02
Tampa, FL
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sat Aug 05
Charlotte, NC
PNC Music Pavilion
Sun Aug 06
Raleigh, NC
Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek Amphitheater
Tue Aug 08
Cincinnati, OH
Riverbend Music Center
Wed Aug 09
Chicago, IL
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Fri Aug 11
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sat Aug 12
Burgettstown, PA
KeyBank Pavilion
Sun Aug 13
Noblesville, IN
Klipsch Music Center
Tue Aug 15
Kansas City, MO
Starlight Theatre
Wed Aug 16
Maryland Heights, MO
Hollywood Casino Amphitheater – St. Louis
Sat Aug 19
Woodlands, TX
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sun Aug 20
Austin, TX
austin360 Amphitheater
Wed Aug 23
Albuquerque, NM***
Isleta Amphitheater
Thu Aug 24
Phoenix, AZ***
Ak-Chin Pavilion
Sat Aug 26
West Valley City, UT***
USANA Amphitheatre
Tue Aug 29
Chula Vista, CA***
Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Wed Aug 30
Los Angeles, CA***
Greek Theatre
Fri Sep 01
Marysville, CA***
Toyota Amphitheater
Sat Sep 02
Mountain View, CA***
Shoreline Amphitheatre
Mon Sep 04
Morrison, CO***
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Fri Sep 08
Ridgefield, WA***
Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
Sat Sep 09
Auburn, WA***
White River Amphitheatre
*** Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience not on this date
Additional dates and support to be announced

Styx’s Lawrence Gowan talks about the band’s “Soundtrack of Summer” 2014 tour with Foreigner & Don Felder

Lawrence Gowan is the lead vocalist/keyboardist for the legendary rock band. Earlier this year, they announced their 2014 summer tour titled “Soundtrack of Summer”, which will feature a co-headline with Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Lawrence Gowan about their upcoming tour, creating new music and his thought’s on being a member of Styx for 15 years.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us some info on the bands upcoming tour?
Lawrence Gowan: We will be out this summer with Foreigner and Don Felder. We have toured the states with Foreigner in some time. We did some shows with them over in England and we realized that the pairing of the two bands was just really great. We wanted to add a little more to the bill like we had done last summer bringing Ted Nugent out with this. This year were brining Don Felder formerly of the Eagles. It’s a great night of entertainment when you can add a third element that takes things over the top. We had done a show last year with Don and it was fantastic. The fact that he has written so many of those Eagles classics that people know is great but he also has an amazing band as well. We added him to the mix and now fans will get 3 hours of music that they know all the words to. The tour is being call the “Soundtrack to Summer” tour and I think that is very fitting. It definitely describes our experiences from playing in the U.S. and Canada. I think people will probably be tired from singing after it’s all over.

AL: The last tour featured Styx performing the “Pieces of Eight” and “Grand Illusion” albums in their entirety. Will the band be picking different albums to perform for this tour?
LG: I don’t think it will be this time. The evening is very much hit driven so I think people will be hearing all the songs they know. Having performed albums in their entirety I have found this to be a curious thing. The big thing is that audiences seem to keep getting younger and younger. So many people seem to have discovered classic rock in the last 10 years. At our shows we see younger people enjoying the experience of hearing some of our albums in their entirety. They seem to share their enthusiasm for both our hits and other tracks from the various albums that don’t get as much play. One of those tracks is “Man in the Wilderness”. That song was never released as a single and it has become a huge favorite. Of course we will be playing “Come Sail Away”, Blue Collar Man” and Renegade” as they are some of our corner stone’s but we can change our set a little to hit some of those more obscure songs which have become peoples favorites over the years. There’s going to be diversity in the night with an element of cohesiveness among the three bands.

AL: Being this is not the bands first time out in a multi-band tour format how do you go about keeping the shows fresh and new from year to year?
LG: That’s our task. It just so happens that we are band who is up to that challenge. We love hearing from fans that the show was even better than the last time they saw us. We are always trying to figure out ways to elevate the show and play the songs better than we have before. A song is a living thing. It’s not stagnant piece of music that stays the same. Every time we play one of our songs it’s going to be a little different. Each night songs take on new meaning for us when we play them. Each day is new and it’s another opportunity to try and get the song right. There is a lot more going on with the music than just being a collection of notes. There are feelings and emotions that need to be navigated every time you play a song. That’s our challenge. In addition to that Styx is a band of 5 front men. Everyone on stage is a great entertainer and musician. I think that’s why the audience is so engaged in what we do. We have a tremendous connection with the audience and we are certainly aware of that. The combination of the band, the song and the audience is infectious. We love what we do and constantly want to do it better.

AL: As an artist I am sure you always want to be creating new material however, does the fans wanting to hear the bands previous catalog make it tough to introduce new material?
LG: There is definitely a balance. We did a full album about 10 years ago that we are still trying to play as much as we can. It hard to squeeze a song in to the set but when we have the chance we will do that. We also had a cover album come out where we did a cover of “I am the Walrus” and that ended up being a big hit with classic radio stations. We try and get that one in there whenever we can. We have been trying to put out some new pieces when we can. We also have re-recorded some of the classic Styx songs and added new pieces to those. We always look for the opportunities to add something new. We also have to try and grapple with the reality of the music industry right now. The one thing that can’t be downloaded or replicated in any way is the live experience. That’s what people are drawn to.  Every show is different and its own separate experience.

AL: This May will mark your 15th year as a member of Styx. When you first joined the band did you ever envision being where you are today?
LG: I have had a really fortunate career. I had a successful solo career in Canada prior to joining Styx and was able to garner a big enough audience to where I could one day perform with Styx in 1997 when they came to Montreal. That led to the second half of my career where I get to be a part of this legendary band. Not many people can make a claim like that. My career has gone backwards in that I had the long solo career and then a lengthy band career. I really have enjoyed the whole thing. There is always something more you want to accomplish but when I am beating myself up about that I look at where I am and see how fortunate I am. It’s a very unique situation and I am so grateful to be part of this.

CD Review: Foreigner “Alive & Rockin'”

Foreigner
Alive & Rockin’
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Tracks: 9

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I would like to consider myself a huge Foreigner fan. I recently saw them perform this past Spring and SeaWorld Orlando and they put on a hell of a live show.
This album was recorded at the 2006 Bang Your Head Festival in Balingen, Germany. This 9-track concert was released previously on DVD but never as an audio CD. I feel that it is definitely missing the energy of the live show. The instruments seems a little bit toned down or muted during the songs. I still have a few original Foreigner albums on my iPhone and I re-listened to those track (of course a different singer), they just sound so much more energetic.

The line up for the concert includes Mick Jones (guitars), Kelly Hansen (vocals), Jason Bonham (drums), Jeff Jacobs (keyboards), Tom Gimbel (guitars, saxophone, flute) and Jeff Pilson (bass). Let me tell you after seeing Kelly Hansen perform live this year, I totally love this voice and he is able to belt out these songs well. This release though didn’t really show that wonderful aspect.

The set list, of course includes the classic crowd-pleasing tracks including U.S. Top 20 hits like “Juke Box Hero”, “Cold As Ice” and “Hot Blooded.” There is even a little tribute to Zeppelin with “Whole Lotta Love”. I have never been a mega big fan of “Starrider and I feel it slows down the album a bit as well. Overall if you are a fan of Foreigner, I would honestly say skip this album, re-listen to your classic vinyls or CD’s and catch these guys live.

Track Listing:
1) Double Vision
2) Head Games
3) Dirty White Boy
4) Cold As Ice
5) Starrider
6) Feels Like The First Time
7) Urgent
8) Juke Box Hero / Whole Lotta Love
9) Hot Blooded