Foreigner Rocks the Missouri State Fair

Crowd was 'Hot Blooded' Over 'Juke Box Heroes' and Their Performance

By: Faith Bemiss

Posted from Sedalia Democrat: Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:32 pm

If you love classic rock and you missed the Foreigner concert at the Missouri State Fair Pepsi Grandstand Friday night, shame on you — the group delivered a top-notch, hot performance, belting out signature songs, connecting with the audience and bringing Green Ridge High School students on stage to sing.

Foreigner, who belongs to the Grammy Foundation and helps with music education, gave a $500 grant to the school’s music program through sales of it’s two CD’s “Juke Box Heroes,” and “Rockin’ at the Ryman,” on Friday night before the concert. The group also donated a signed Les Paul guitar as a raffle prize.

Opening, Friday’s stage show was Starship featuring Mickey Thomas. The group offered heart thumping bass, vocals and plenty of memorial songs such as, “Jane,” and We Built this City.”

Foreigner took the stage around 8:30 p.m., with some of high octane songs such as “Cold as Ice,” “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” and “Dirty White Boy.” Songs that soon left lead singer Kelly Hansen and the rest of the group’s, hair limp with perspiration.

The burning performance of “Urgent,” was accompanied by Tom Gimbal, usually on guitar, but playing a break-my-heart, smoking, hot, sexy saxophone. Hansen introduced Gimbal as playing so many instruments that it scared his kids. The multitalented Gimbal also plays rhythm guitar, keyboards, and flute for the group.

Hansen soon remarked that they would slow it down so the audience could “catch their breath,” as they went into a rendition of “Waiting for a Girl Like You.”

The group also performed, the popular, “Head Games” and “Double Vision.” While Hansen, Gimbal, Jeff Pislon and Bruce Watson, who played lead guitar, took a brief hiatus from the stage, keyboardist, Michael Bluestein picked up the beat soloing a surreal sound from his instruments, creating high-tech music. Like a magician, he moved his hand above the keyboard, sometimes quavering with the rhythm and sound, like he was drawing the sound from the depths of the instrument.

Following Bluestein, drummer, Chris Frazier played a high-energy solo for several minutes. And, to the applause of the audience, he poured bottled water over his drums creating cooling splashes of color, while spewing water from his mouth. All the while, he never lost a beat. His drum solo led to the reentry of the rest of the band members and progressed into the song, “Juke Box Hero.”

Toward the end of the performance, Hansen, with a fervent, almost preacher-like invitation, told the audience he wanted them to do two things, one to put their arm around the person they were next to, and two, to lift their voices to the sky. He then brought students from the Green Ridge High School show choir, Green Ridge Harmony, on stage to sing, “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Foreigner ended the show with another temperature rising, signature song “Hot Blooded.”