Saturday, August 13, 2022

Styx (The Live and UnZoomed Tour) Concert Review

Lawrence Gowan and Styx rocked Jiffy Lube Live

Are You Ready for a Rock Show?

Few things (truly) improve with age. Blue jeans, fine leather and whisky leap to mind, but legendary music acts? Usually not, with one noticeable exception... Styx. The Chicago-based rock band turns 50 this year, but showed no signs of slowing down as The Live and UnZoomed Tour (with Loverboy and REO Speedwagon) stopped at Jiffy Lube Live last night. 24 hours later, and I'm still tapping my feet.

Concert Review

Canadian rockers Loverboy kicked things off at 6:45 (love the early start) with an 8-song set capped off by their mega hit "Working for the Weekend." After a short break, Styx continued the musical "workout," with a trio of rock smashes ("The Fight of Our Lives," "Blue Collar Man," and "The Grand Illusion") before easing into their 1973 ballad "Lady." Last year's "Crash of the Crown" was next, followed by 1975's "Light Up," which Tommy Shaw introduced by saying, "I think you know what it's all about." Judging by the roar from the near sell-out crowd, they/we did.

Bassist/singer Ricky Phillips

Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan "sounded the alarm" and introduced fellow lead vocalist Tommy Shaw, reminding everyone that Shaw's "not just an impressive hairdo." Gowan then shifted into second gear, declaring, "Let's turn this place into party city," before slipping into a black top hat, rainbow-colored jacket and "Rockin' the Paradise."

Guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw

Shaw introduced co-founder/bassist Chuck Panozzo (to the crowd's delight) for the 1978 hit "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" prior to "Too Much Time on My Hands," one of the first songs to ever play on MTV. "The very first hour," no less. The crowd rose to their feet for the latter, enthusiastically clapping in unison, and seemingly never sitting down again. Afterwards, Gowan dedicated "Khedive" to his father, who served on the namesake ship in World War II. Panozzo stayed on for "Lost at Sea," "the fourth shortest song in rock history." At a mere 39 seconds, Gowan wasn't kidding. A dozen songs... and then things got really interesting.

"Come Sail Away" saw the crowd erupt, as everyone (even me!) stayed standing and sang along. Gowan was (in a word) incredible, handling lead vocals while dancing up, down and around the entire stage. If there's a better showman than the 65-year-old Scot, I've yet to see them.

Styx certainly knows how to build up to a grand finale, returning to the stage for an encore double-play of "Mr. Roboto" and "Renegade," that literally turned Bristow upside down. I last saw Styx in person back in June 2010 for the United in Rock tour with Foreigner and Kansas (also at Jiffy Lube Live.) They stole the show that night, but last night's performance was truly special. Outside of lead guitarist James Young's absence, it was a perfect concert. The Live and UnZoomed Tour continues tonight at the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey, before crossing the border for a Tuesday night date in Toronto, Ontario.