Friday night provided an interesting event for me as I attended a retro rock concert featuring Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder. It was a surreal happening as the mostly baby boomer crowd seemed to enjoy all aspects of this retrograde concert. I would guess that 50 would be the medium age of those who attended this blast from the past.
First up for the night was Don Felder and his band. Felder was a member of the Eagles, started his set with “Already Gone” and then played other Eagles’ classics such as “One of These Nights”, “Those Shoes” and “Witchy Woman.” For his last song, Felder invited Styx member Tommy Shaw to sing and play guitar for “Hotel California.” Shaw and Felder’s guitar playing for the instrumental ending of “Hotel California” was superb. After the completion of Felder’s set, I wondered why the Eagles and Felder couldn’t patch up their differences and play as a unified band once again? I guess I can always dream.
Next up was Styx. Of the three groups, Styx put on the best show and provided good entertainment along with sounding tight with their music and vocals. My favorite song of the night was “Renegade.” Tommy Shaw and James Young are the only 2 original members of Styx still with the band but the other newer members compliment Shaw and Young in a positive way. The one thing that is missing from Styx is original member Dennis De Young. Apparently Shaw and De Young had a “falling out” and De Young will not have anything to do with Styx. It is a shame because Styx did not play any of their biggest hits (“Best of Times”, “Babe” or Mr. Roboto”) during the concert because they are Dennis De Young’s songs. It sure would be nice if Shaw and De Young could “bury the hatchet” and unite together again in Styx. I guess I can always dream.
Last to hit the stage was Foreigner. I am going to say right up front that this band misses Lou Gramm, the former lead vocalist for Foreigner. The current lead vocalist has a nice voice but is no Lou Gramm. Mick Jones is the only original member still with the band and he only played on the last four songs at the end of their set. It felt like I was watching a Foreigner “tribute” band. The highlights of their set included “Juke Box Hero”, the saxophone playing in “Urgent” and “I Want To Know What Love Is”, which featured a local choir to sing the chorus. I sure do wish that Gramm and Jones could get back together for a Foreigner reunion tour. I guess I can always dream.
My final observations on the crowd: At a 1980 Styx concert, the smell of pot would have been in the air. In 2014, the crowd gets high drinking 9 dollar cans of beer and all smoking is banned.
At a 1980 Foreigner concert, girls sat on their boyfriend’s shoulders dancing to the music. In 2014, drunk women dance by themselves, with horrible form, oblivious to anyone around, how bad they look……..and they just keep on dancing.
At a Don Felder/Eagles concert in 1980, people would use bic lighters to try and entice an encore performance. In 2014, people use their smart phone light to encourage an encore.
Old rockers don’t die, just just fade away.