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Styx: Rock’s Renegades Caught In The Act @ Soaring Eagle Casino
LIVE AT THE SOARING EAGLE
2ND MARCH 2012
Sold Out. That is what EVERY poster advertising the Styx concert to be held at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, MI read. Is it hard to believe? Not in my opinion – these guys have been doing this so long; they have built a fan base that spans generations. That is very evident in this crowd; some (including myself) who braved ran and sleet to attend tonight’s performance.
The band hit the stage after most everyone had found his or her seat. Tommy Shaw has all the energy of a guy half his age as he runs… yes, runs… from stage left to stage right and back. James Young (JY), the most senior member of the group, casually struts around on the stage demonstrating his ability to roam from lead guitarist to rhythm guitarist. On stage right, in his familiar spot, is Lawrence Gowan, keyboardist and co-lead vocalist. He mentions he is battling a cold tonight, but declares the show must go on. Drummer extraordinaire Todd Sucherman, who was interviewed by The Rockpit in 2011, is a monster behind his set, while making it look effortless. Newest member, bassist Ricky Phillips, is a capable addition to the rhythm section.
As the band moves through several hits, including opener “Blue Collar Man,” and follow up tunes “Grand Illusion” and “Too Much Time On My Hands,” one realizes these guys are firing on all cylinders and have even seemed to pick up steam and improve. I often wonder if a band really sounds as good as they do in the studio. These veterans recently released a collection, Regeneration, of their hits re-recorded by their current lineup. As they bang out those same hits tonight in front of an ecstatic crowd, you realize they really are that good. Tommy’s vocals are crisp and strong. JY even graces us with vocals on his standard “Lorelei.”
After getting the crowd on their side, they bring out some classic tracks that graced the second side of albums (yep, look it up kids – albums). “Man In The Wilderness” from the bands first triple platinum album ‘Grand Illusion’ and “I’m Okay” from ‘Pieces Of Eight.’ After approval from fans old and young, or should that be new and old, the band kicks back into overdrive and plays all the remaining classics in their bag of tricks. For their encore, Styx took the stage, made every effort to impress, and succeeded as they ran through “Rocking The Paradise” and finally, “Renegade.” If anything, this show left me anxiously awaiting their summer run with REO and Nugent. “Tonight’s the night we’ll make history” indeed.
Setlist: Blue Collar Man – Grand Illusion – Too Much Time On My Hands – Lady – Lorelei – Man In The Wilderness – I’m Okay – Crystal Ball – Suite Madam Blue – Pieces Of Eight – Fooling Yourself – Miss America – Come Sail Away
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Words and Images by Todd Jolicoeur