Gig review: FOREIGNER, Styx and Don Felder – PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, USA, 31 May 2014

Apologies in advance, but I’m afraid this write up will be a little heavy on KISS rants, despite it not being a KISS show.

Originally I was going to see Adrenaline Mob at Tremont, and then I heard that Styx was coming along with Foreigner and Don Felder of the Eagles. Styx is one of my all-time favorite bands as I’m sure I have mentioned before.

Sadly, for a bit it seemed I wasn’t going to be able to do either show thanks to lack of funds. A week or so ago Adrenaline Mob was in a bad accident forcing them to cancel the remainder of their tour, so clearly that show was out.

I still wasn’t considering going to the other show either, that is until I was looking at the upcoming setlist for Black Star Riders (formerly Thin Lizzy) and decided to see what Styx was playing this time around. I was forced to miss them the last couple of times, including a show at a club that would’ve simply been incredible.

Once I saw what all three bands were playing I decided it was a night not to miss. My woman AJ was unable to join me this time around as she was out of town, but my best friend Roger was able to go. It had been a while since we had an old school guy’s night out.

We decided to make a day out of it. Our first stop was by one of our old haunts back in the day, though at a different location.

Back in the early 90’s, every weekend Roger and I would go to various places and he would watch me spend my paycheck on KISS memorabilia. Two of our favorite stops were Repo Records and Repo Cheapo in Charlotte.

Both have been closed down for a while now, until a couple months ago when Repo was opened back up. Since I only had enough money to scrounge up for the show and dinner, I was the watcher this time.

As before, there was so much stuff I could’ve spent insane amounts of money on. Beyond the incredible bounty of great finds, it’s the fact that the guys there are super gracious. Jeff Young and Jimmy Repo were super friendly and eager to talk music with us. I look forward to spending as much time and money as I can there. I highly recommend you checking it out too.

Our next stop was Showmar’s for dinner. It’s become one of our regular places to eat these days for shows. When I ordered my food they accidentally put in two fish sammiches. I laughed and said, “I’m hungry, but not that hungry.” The manager was like, “Aw, c’mon.” I confided, “I’m pretty sure I could eat them both, but I’ll pass.”

Next thing you know the waiter comes out and there are two fish sammiches. Apparently I was that hungry and ate them both. It reminded me of this ad I saw the other night and told Roger about it. It’s some new drug you can take to curb your appetite.

That’s my big issue when it comes to my weight. I never feel full, and have a tremendous appetite. I started thinking that maybe I should look into the pill until they said it causes gynecomastia and lactating.

I was like, “Great, so I’ve lost all this weight, but I have these great big titties that are squirting milk.” I thought Roger was going to pass out from laughing. Towards the end of the meal Roger admitted he hadn’t bought the tickets.

This flooded back the time he didn’t get tickets in advance for Journey/Def Leppard when Jeff Scott Soto was singing with Journey all over again, though I wasn’t overly worried about it selling out. He assured me all would be fine. We still had a good laugh over it though.

We finally arrived at PNC Pavilion (formerly known as Verizon and Blockbuster.) Owner of Tremont John told me to text when we arrived so we could see if we were sitting near each other, once we upgraded our lawn seats.

When we go to the box office we asked what tickets they had that was cheap, so the guy said lawn. So we each bought our own ticket and made our way into the pavilion. We stopped briefly to look at the shirts, and then found someone to upgrade our seats. We were informed that we already had seats and wouldn’t be upgraded.

First up on the bill was Don Felder, former guitarist of The Eagles. His set was pretty much just Eagle songs with a couple solo songs, including “Heavy Metal” which was a nice bonus. His band was pretty tight, and he sounded great. For me the highlight was an excellent rendition of “Seven Bridges Road.” That is not an easy song to perform.

At the end he called out Tommy Shaw and Todd Sucherman of Styx to join him in doing “Hotel California.” They nailed it. That song contains one of my absolute favorite solos. This will likely be the closest I’ll ever come to seeing The Eagles live as I have no plans on spending that much money to see anyone live.

We decided to try and get better seats after Felder. I was willing to pay $10 just to be closer and out of the direct sun. We found a guy and explained to him that we thought we were buying yard seats, that the guy put us in two different areas, and we were willing to pay.

I guess our plea worked because he found us the best seats he had in his hand and we got them free. New tickets in hand we got a drink and headed back in.  We were pleased with where we were.

Next up was Styx. I think this is the fourth or fifth time seeing them. They’re awesome every time. A lot of people give them flak because Dennis is gone and they never play “Mr. Roboto.” Lawrence Gowan does a magnificent job filling DeYoung’s shoes. I do wish they would play Roboto at least one time, but I’m pleased with what they usually perform.

Their setlist was comprised of nothing but classic stuff, including “Light Up” which is a song they haven’t played live in a very long time, if ever. It is also one of my favorites from them. Plus they played “Crystal Ball” which is my favorite song. As usual the band was in top form.

It amazes me that every time I see them they get better and better. And here is where one of my KISS rants begins. Tommy Shaw has a fantastic voice and has clearly taken care of his instrument per se.

Unlike Paul Stanley whose voice is shot. I realize that sometimes shit happens, and it’s a matter of taking care of yourself but my point is this: if you have still got it, then keep doing it, but once you’re past your prime and can no longer sing it’s time to call it quits.

It saddens me to know I will never see KISS again because I’m not paying that kind of money to listen to Paul warble his way through songs that defined my childhood. Roger and I both agreed that this was the best setlist we’d seen Styx do and were definitely glad we made I to the show.

Rounding out the night was Foreigner. Classic rock gets maligned a lot, mostly because classic rock radio is lame. Sure, many of the songs are overplayed, but those songs are truly the soundtrack of a lifetime.

All of us can relate great memories to so many of those songs. For me, the two classic rock bands that really have had the biggest impact on me have been Styx and Foreigner. Both bands have songs that I can listen to time and again, and they transport me to times in the past of great joy and happiness. Both are bands I simply never tire of hearing their music.

While some people don’t get it or just try to be hip and hate on anything because it’s cool to be a hater, I just keep on being totally unhip and uncool and love what I love.

This is only the secpnd time getting to see them live (ironically enough the first time was with Styx too.) I noticed immediately the absence of Mick Jones, founding member, and only remaining original member left.

I knew Mick has had some health problems, but I guess I missed hearing that he wasn’t playing with them. They still sounded great, but I was eaten up with curiosity about where Jones was.

Into the third or fourth song Kelly Hansen said that it was his favorite part of the show where he got to bring out Mick Jones, and he made it sound like this was the first time he had been able to join the band in a while. If so, I was damn glad. He looked great, and he sounded amazing.

It was pretty obvious once he joined in the dynamics of their sound changed. The guy filling in (who I later learned was Bruce Watson of Big Country) did a great job, but there’s something about Mick that just does it.

Granted, he writes the songs and is a pretty amazing player, but there’s something about his presence that brings it all together. Just like Styx their set was perfect.  I commented to Roger that this could possibly be the last time we see Foreigner with Mick. You just never know what the future holds. I sure hope he remains healthy and able to do it though.

My next KISS rant starts now. On our way out this guy commented on my KISS shirt. I always “plan” my shirt for every show I attend. I rarely wear the bands shirt I’m seeing.

This evening I had decided to wear one of my newer KISS shirts (a live shot from the Unmasked era) since I had just finished reading the book Nothing To Lose which chronicles KISS from 1973-75.

I learned that Styx opened up for them a few times so I thought I would wear it because of that (yes, I am a big nerd.) He came over, shook my hand, and said, “Great shirt! You seeing them with Def Leppard?”

Of course, me being the merchant of truth I am said, “No I’ll be passing on it.” He replied, “Ah man, it’s KISS! How can you miss it?” I returned, “Paul’s voice is shot. I’m not spending my money on that.”

I may as well have said, “I shot your dog, raped your Mom, and molested you as a child,” he was so offended. Of course, the next words out of his mouth were, “You’re not a true fan.”

This is a statement uttered by brain dead idiots that have no clue what a true fan is and whose favorite song is probably “Rock and Roll All Nite.” I shouted back, “I have them tattooed on my body and have seen them 25 times,” but, as is par for the course for this particular type of jackass, he wasn’t hearing it.

Listen guy, you don’t know me just like I don’t know you. To tell someone they aren’t a true fan of the band simply because I am not paying my hard earned money to watch a KISS tribute band with the worst Paul doesn’t make me any less of a fan.

Not a true fan is someone who continues to support someone ruining not only their voice but the greatness of their sound. If people would stop buying tickets to the shows, maybe Gene and Paul would catch a clue that their run was great, but it’s time to hang it up.

To me, by supporting Paul it’s the same ground as supporting someone destroying themselves with drugs and alcohol. It’s not healthy.  At any rate, I don’t need some stranger in a parking lot telling me I’m not a true fan of KISS. I know where I stand.

Overall it was a great night (other than the dipshit at the end of the night.) Got to spend time with my best friend who I don’t get to see as much as I would like, went to an awesome place I hope to frequent often, and saw an outstanding night of classic rock greatness.

Any time these two bands come to my area I will be there. They always know how to put on an amazing show and still sound just as great all these years later. Until next time my peeps always remember: Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto!

Review by Chris Martin




 

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections


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Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)



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