Author Topic: Carnegie Music Hall Munhall (Pittsburgh PA) 5-24-13 Review  (Read 5110 times)


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Carnegie Library Music Hall, Munhall, PA (Pittsburgh)
May 24, 2013

The venue was in the huge, turn of the century grand stone and block Carnegie Library built in 1898 by the legendary industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie. It was easy to imagine the symphonies and grand events that took place here. It was truly an opulent venue, so old and preserved. Seats were original thin wooden seats, each with armrests and ornate iron legs and supports. Parking was free, on-street, in a old city neighborhood, twisting up the steep hills and narrow streets in the East end of Pittsburgh.

But tonight, it was all Foreigner!

The Music Hall website claims it holds about 1,000... turnout looked to be around 800 +/- fans of all ages. I was surprised at the number of twenty somethings present... a lot of the fans weren't even born yet when Foreigner originally skyrocketed to fame.

There was both floor seating, and a second floor balcony. My 17 year old son and I were three rows from the stage, left side.

Local Pittsburgh cover band opened for them, playing a full hour of original and cover hits starting at 8 o'clock sharp.

After a brief stage change, Foreigner opened just after 9PM.

They followed the same setlist as posted on-line from earlier dates this year, playing almost every one of the well known hits. They extended a number of songs, much to the delight of the audience.

Opening with Double Vision, Kelly promptly steps onto the floor, then onto a piano sitting off stage... then winds his way and climbs UP into the balcony!! I'm thinking- is this for real??

Kelly constantly bantered with the crowd the entire night, chiming in about our Pittsburgh Pirates... noted how small the crowd was... "its like playing in someone's great room!" he chided. Several more times, he'd climb off stage and walk through the floor audience, shaking or high-fiving every hand that was presented to him. He thanked the audience repeatedly for coming to see them... and you really felt he, and the band, meant it.

Each member performed to perfection, and though the acoustics of such a small theater struggled to clearly convey and separate the powerful sound of this legendary rock band, vocals and instrument solos were pretty clear and crisp overall.

Showmanship was the lesson to be taught here to any aspiring bands of today. Each member had solo or two during the set, and took turns coming up to the edge of the stage, high-fiving and shaking hands of those lucky fans in the front row seats. Smiling from ear to ear, all the gyrations of a by-gone era of performing musicians, even throwing guitar picks to the audience at the close of the show.

It felt like 1979 all over again, and it felt pretty good!

Foreigner put on a performance as if they were playing to a sold-out LA Coliseum, or MSG. I have been a concert goer for over 32 years, and I have seen many of the greats throughout rock (and country) history. I can honestly say, even after my "concert-high" has wound down here the next morning, that I have NEVER felt a group put out so much energy, passion, and look like they TRULY enjoyed playing for such a small group of their loyal fans.

Timing was tight, and though I was being blasted right in front of the left speaker bank, they sounded to me they hit all the solos, accents and passages right on mark.

Mick Jones didn't perform tonight... and there was no mention of his whereabouts/ condition. Rumors circled that he is in ill health.

They closed with a local high school choir onstage, maybe 20-25 kids, decked out in pink t-shirts to sing along with the band on "I Want to Know What Love Is". Earlier, the students were selling raffle tickets for the Grammy Foundation fundraiser. For $20, you got a CD of Foreigner's live performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Then, you got a raffle ticket that they drew at the end of the concert for a guitar autographed by each of the band members. I was off by ONE number :(

It was pretty cool actually, kinda like a "We are the World" kinda moment.

They played until almost 11:00PM.

Okay... truth be told... the "original members" thing... I didn't go to see Foreigner for years because I felt "if it ain't Lou, it ain't Foreigner". I am a purist, and I was disappointed that Mick didn't play... no explanation, but it was definitely an expectation.

But the music of Foreigner is what is living on, and the group on stage gave it the respect it deserves. I never had the chance to see them live back in the day, and last night's show made up for a lot of it, for me. It's as good as it's going to get, fans... so I will take it.

Rock on, Foreigner!!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 03:38:57 pm by mattcg1 »


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Re: Carnegie Music Hall Munhall (Pittsburgh PA) 5-24-13 Review
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 05:41:48 am »
Thank you sooo much for this wonderful review, Matt. Such fun reading it.
I know exactly how you felt. When I heard the band for the first time in 2007 I was totally stunned by their performance and perfection. That much that I booked a flight from Berlin to Stuttgart to hear them again a week later.
What a shame that Mick wasn't there and that you didn't win ... but hopefully it will happen next time.


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Re: Carnegie Music Hall Munhall (Pittsburgh PA) 5-24-13 Review
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2013, 07:53:36 am »
Thank you very much for taking the time to sign up and write a review. I enjoyed reading it and I know exactely where you're coming from. If somebody would have told me years ago that I'd ever accept anybody else fronting the band other than Lou Gramm I would have laughed right into his face.
The reason why it was so easy for me to accept Kelly is the fact that he does justice to the songs. He delivers the goods, he is able to make them sound like they should and he adds a lot of fun to the shows with his stage energy and funny antics. Besides, he has a great bunch of musicians with him.
I saw this rejuvenated line-up for the first time at the prestigious "Bang Your Head" festival here in Germany in 2006. There have been about 10.000 heavy metal fans here and Foreigner rocked the house down! I will never forget that day! So much fun!!!  ;D ;D

Such a pity that Mick wasn't there and sorry that you didn't win but apparently it was a great night nonetheless. Thanks again for the review.

Tatjana :)


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Re: Carnegie Music Hall Munhall (Pittsburgh PA) 5-24-13 Review
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 08:47:50 pm »
What an awesome review Matt. Thanks for sharing and taking the time.
By the way, welcome to the board.

Eunice :)