I rarely write concert reviews as I never write them from a musician's point of view or a technical manner. I usually try to describe the ambiance and whether I enjoyed the experience or not. However, after last night, I could not help myself. So, here it is:
Hot Blooded on a Bloody Hot Evening
With temperatures in the mid nineties and a humidity factor that equaled breathing pea soup and no breeze whatsoever, Foreigner took the stage around twilight. They opened with “Double Vision”. What a vision this band was indeed! The lead singer, Kelly Hansen, has an incredible stage presence and a voice that matches the songs well enough, formerly belted out by Lou Gramm. Jeff Pilson was a nice addition as well, how can a guy older than me move around on stage like that?
What surprised me most was how much harder and powerful they sounded than on CD. While I don’t turn to another radio station when Foreigner songs come on, I must admit neither do I turn the radio way up (except for a few select songs). I came because my 16-year-old daughter and I could agree on this band that they would be fun to see. She was afraid she would be the only one there of her age that actually wanted to be there, but there were plenty enough guys around her age (mostly long-haired and pierced) to keep it interesting enough for her.
“Double Vision” was followed by “Head Games” and “Cold as Ice”, the latter being introduced in a witty manner by a very hot Kelly Hansen (take that comment as you will)! After that I don’t remember the order of the songs, but I found most of them to be highlights. Dirty White Boy, Star Rider, Feels Like the First Time, I Want to Know What Love is, and Urgent all were part of the performance. I kind of missed Blue Morning, as that is my favorite Foreigner song. My daughter loved the flute parts of Star Rider, as flute was her first instrument that she played and she is still partial to a good flute sound.
I must admit I did not know squat about the lineup, I only knew that these weren’t all the original members. Usually that bothers me a lot, especially when the lead singer changes, but I never felt that I was watching “The Mick Jones Band” instead of Foreigner.
I was impressed enough to conduct some research on the Internet on the current lineup, but was surprised how hard it was to find out about these guys (it took me hours to find the official website even). Luckily I had purchased an autographed CD called “Live in 05” just before their performance, which has the band members listed by names. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Jeff Pilson used to play with Dokken! I have some Dokken and always liked it, but just like Foreigner never delved into it that far.
Unfortunately though, there are only 5 signatures with the CD I spent $ 20 on (reasonable enough). After studying the signatures closely today (the day after the concert), I think it’s Jason Bonham’s autograph that is missing. That is kind of disappointing to me, as I am a huge Led Zeppelin fan.
Speaking of Led Zeppelin: During what I call the “noodling” stuff - the inevitable solos that take place at every concert and are to impresses the musicians and musically inclined in the audience no doubt - they cleverly interwove some Zeppelin: Kashmere and Whole Lotta Love. That fact kept me from being bored through the noodling, plus as far as I can judge these things these guys are some incredible musicians.
Also, sitting as close to 12 rows from the stage usually gives me a headache because of poor sound or whatever (age on my part could be a factor too), so I brought earplugs for my daughter and I. However, they were not needed. My daughter later at home gave as much a compliment as you will get out of her: “The band that played before them gave me a headache. Although Foreigner played much louder they didn’t. This goes to show that music that sucks can’t be played loud”. This statement is coming from someone who listens to mostly Death Metal for the time being.
All in all, a wonderful experience.
PS: One of my favorite moments was when Kelly Hansen stuck his hand in Jeff Pilson's shirt during "Hot Blooded". Oh yes ...