You can always expect two things at a Styx or Foreigner concert: good music and tons of fun. Saturday night’s performance by both bands at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie was no exception. Making their third stop on The Soundtrack of Summer Tour, the classic rock supergroups, along with rock ‘n’ roll hall of famer Don Felder, delivered a knock-out show worthy of the tour’s title.
And what about this Felder fellow? You know…the former Eagles guitarist and singer who helped pen the band’s “Hotel California.” Let’s just say that Felder’s set was as cool and refreshing as the light breeze that flowed through North Texas Saturday afternoon. Backed by a four-piece band, Felder treated fans to a set filled with classic Eagles hits and a few surprises.
After opening with “Already Gone” and “One of These Nights,” Felder mentioned that it wouldn’t be right to play a show in Texas without saluting the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan. An impressive version of “Pride and Joy” ensued to the delight of many in the crowd. But it was a spectacular version of the Eagles hit, “Seven Bridges Road” that first brought fans to their feet. “Heartache Tonight” and “Life in the Fast Lane” also resulted in well deserved standing ovations for Felder and his band.
Closing out his set, Felder invited Styx’s Tommy Shaw onto the stage for “Hotel California.” The two traded vocals and guitar solos in a surreal moment of classic rock ecstasy that had those in attendance hanging on every note.
With the crowd more than pumped, Styx took the stage to a thunderous ovation that only got louder and louder throughout their set. Mixing up their song selection for the tour, Styx opened up with “The Grand Illusion.” The song featured blistering side-stage guitar duels between Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young. Then came the always crowd pleasing “Too Much Time on My Hands.”
Following a brief version of “Deep in the Heart of Texas” on acoustic guitar, Shaw led the band into the catchy “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).” No matter the song, or the era, it seemed that Styx could do no wrong on this night as fans roared with approval for “Lady” and even the lesser known “Light Up.” Before Young could even finish introducing the song, the theatre was awash in the glow of cell phone lights.
Styx pulled out a surprise number of their own…the rarely played “Superstars” from The Grand Illusion album. During the song, Shaw tried to venture out into the crowd. He only got as far as the first row when a woman greeted him with a big wet kiss on the lips, and a hug that seemed to last an eternity. Trying to continue on his way, Shaw made it another five rows before fans overtook the aisle, resulting in Shaw’s hasty retreat to the stage.
The fever-pitched euphoria continued through the rest of the band’s set which included the hits “Blue Collar Man,” “Come Sail Away,” and “Renegade.”
Following Styx can be a daunting task for any band, but Foreigner did it with ease…raising the energy level at Verizon Theatre even higher with their gritty one-two punch style of rock ‘n’ roll. Decked out in black, Foreigner hit the stage with an intensity that brought their music to a full boil. Lead singer Kelly Hansen moved around the stage at a whiplash pace, barely standing still for fans to snap a good photo. Bassist Jeff Pilson and multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel poured their energy into every song…dancing, running, and cheering the crowd on from beginning to end.
The opening sequence of “Double Vision, “Head Games,” and “Cold as Ice” was electric, but one couldn’t help but notice the absence of guitarist and founding member Mick Jones. With Bruce Watson in place for Jones, it wasn’t until the fifth song of the set that Hansen mentioned that Jones had been sidelined earlier for health reasons, but now he was back with the band. With that, Jones made his way onto the stage for the rest of the show, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.
Highlights of the evening included raucous versions of “Urgent” and “Jukebox Hero,” along with a mesmerizing version of “Starrider.” The encore included “I Want to Know What Love Is” with a special appearance by Dove Elementary’s 5th grade choir.
By the time Foreigner had finished their show, the band was soaked in sweat, and I’m pretty sure a few of those in attendance were as well.
Don Felder, Styx and Foreigner definitely earned their claim to being the soundtrack of summer…let’s just hope it’s an endless summer!
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