« Last post by Alfmac on February 12, 2015, 09:05:23 pm »
My brother and I were some of the strong contingent of people from Hawkes Bay (about 1.5hours drive from Taupo), to travel to see the triple billing Summer Concert which included Foreigner.
We have both been fans since day one, so anticipation was high. When entering the amphitheatre, we stood on the embankment and looked down upon a sea of humanity worthy of the entertainment on show. Not sure how big the audiences in the USA are, but 15,000 is a healthy number here.
My one disappointment of the day was that Foreigner were not the headline act! They followed Three Dog Night (talented musicians and very good entertainers), but our focus was Foreigner! So off to the mosh pit and await the arrival of the boys.
THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
Opening the set with Double Vision, they grabbed the audience by the balls and never let up. Song after song, hit after hit, they whipped us up into a frenzy! Every word of every song being sung back to Kelly, and the entire band fed off the vibe. This was show that involved the audience – we were part of it. Kelly didn’t just talk to us, he involved us. Magic!
I have never seen Foreigner live when Lou Gramm was front man, so comparisons are irrelevant. What Mick has done is revitalise and energise the Foreigner fan base, and introduce new fans. For those wanting to label the current line-up as a tribute band, whatever, I disagree. The founder has ensured that the music can live on, because as we know, Mick isn’t getting any younger. They are living the Foreigner future. You add the genius of Tommy Gimbel, who is extremely talented as lead guitarist, but adds flute, sax and keyboards (Cold as Ice), Jeff Pilson's production and arrangements, Chris Frazier’s frenzied drumming, Michael Bluestein’s keystrokes (then swapping with Jeff to play bass during the encore), Bruce Watson’s driving rhythm and lead, and of course the band icon, Mick.
Then Kelly – a true showman. Strutting across stage, climbing scaffold and PA bins, climbing into the mosh pit during the songs to “high five” fans, and pinching the big screen camera to film the band and the crowd are all memories that will live with me forever.
Then after whipping the crowd into a frenzy, the call for more rang out, and back they came. More hits during the encore and then the final bow to the audience and throwing of guitar picks into the throng – I got a Tommy Gimbel one, my brother (who plays bass in his own band, got Jeff Pilson’s) – fitting really.
So, they came, they rocked, and now they are gone. My only hope is that they remember this small, two island country at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and think, hey, we had a great time there, and the fans “got it”. We need to go back.
That is a dream I hope the band can fulfil.