Styx and Foreigner Bring Delightful Night To Pine Knob

Music legends Styx, Foreigner and special guest John Waite delivered an unforgettable concert on Saturday June 15th at Clarkston’s Pine Knob Music Theatre.
The trio is on tour for their noteworthy “Renegades & Juke Box Heroes Tour”, which kicked off on June 11th in Grand Rapids and wraps up on August 28th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The tour is a co-headlining tour, which finds Styx and Foreigner swapping headlining duties on different nights. This tour is the second leg of a two-year farewell tour that is set to bring absolutely timeless, feel-good summer vibes all across the country. To celebrate the launch of the tour, the bands have released a limited-edition companion album, appropriately titled, Renegades & Juke Box Heroes.

As a clear indicator of the bands’ enduring popularity, Pine Knob Music Theatre was packed for the night’s festivities. With music more accessible than ever, Foreigner and Styx have ushered in new generations of fans with their imperishable catalogues.

John Waite started off the show with a bright smile, wave and ivory-colored Fender guitar. Throughout his set, he made sure to introduce each member of his band. At one point he asked the crowd, “Anybody out there remember The Babys?” The audience cheered to answer a resounding confirmation. Waite’s entertaining setlist was mostly filled with covers of The Babys and Bad English songs. He also performed his massive hit, “Missing You”. At the end of the set, Waite delivered a beautiful cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” where his vocal talents truly shined.

Styx was next to take the stage as the night’s co-headliner. Under a grayscale backdrop that juxtaposed the band’s vibrance and energy, the band emerged to start into the wonderful track, “The Grand Illusion”. On keys, Lawrence Gowan was the essence of cool with blue color in his hair. His vocals sounded immediately strong and paired beautifully with the harmonies of other band members. As the song concluded, he shouted out, “Detroit, Michigan! Pine Knob! Welcome to the Grand Illusion!”
Styx kept moving into “Too Much Time On My Hands”, holding up two fingers throughout the song as they sang the chorus and encouraged the audience to join in. Once the track concluded, Gowan addressed the crowd. “Well, Detroit, say hello to the man from Chicago, Illinois, the founding father, Chuck Panozzo!” The audience cheered as the legendary bassist emerged in a glittering blazer, looking like the type of sharp-dressed man that ZZ Top would write a song about. Gowan continued, “Chuck says we play this, so we play this!” Gentle keys welcomed in the beautiful song, “Lady”.
During “Miss America”, a beach ball bopped around the audience as concert-goers rose to their feet and clapped along. Gowan’s keyboard was perched atop a revolving pedestal. Throughout the set, he would strut along as the pedestal rotated. When “Miss America” completed, Gowan began introducing each member of the band.
“Hello, you lovely lawn people up there! We see you! Can you see this man over here? He wrote some of the biggest classic rock songs of all time. The man from Alabama, the one and only – Tommy Shaw!” The crowd applauded with a cheer of gratitude for the decades of hits. He then introduced his brother and the newest member of Styx on bass guitar, Terry Gowan, as well as the producer of their two most recent albums, Will Evankovich on vocal and guitars.
Next, he moved on to drums. “Ten times, that’s ten! He has won the reader’s poll in Modern Drummer Magazine. Coincidentally, he happens to be drummer of Styx, which is fortunate, I suppose. He will stand up and accept your love the way he accepted thirty hot dogs off our bus when he stole them the other night. Make him stand up for you, Mr. Todd Sucherman!” He then acknowledged the godfather of Styx, Mr. James “JY” Young. The crowd joined in a chant of “Fifty more years!”

Tommy Shaw kept the introductions going, explaining that Lawrence Gowan’s birthplace of Scotland wasn’t big enough for him. “He learned how to play piano, he moved to Toronto. It didn’t take too long for us to run into each other on the road. Mr. Lawrence Gowan!” In a slick gold sequin jacket Gowan shouted, “We love you, Detroit! Let’s turn this place into paradise!” and charged into “Rockin’ The Paradise”.
After “Blue Collar Man”, Gowan then told the crowd, “You always make us feel good, Pine Knob, I can tell you that.” Styx played into “The Best Of Times”. Throughout the song, he encouraged the audience to sing along. “Everybody! These are the best OF TIMES!”
Styx welcomed Chuck Panozzo back to the stage for “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”. The band’s harmonies were positively on point. Gowan impressed by playing keys flawlessly behind his back. He was animated and clearly feeling every note. The band gathered in a line to strum and close out the song.
“Right now we want to sing a song that has brought us together and will bring us together in a way where the Pine Knob national choir shall sing along. Please sing!” The set was brought to an unbelievable crescendo as Styx led into “Come Sail Away”. The Pine Knob choir obliged and sang along indeed as folks happily danced in the aisles.
Gowan’s keyboard pedestal illuminated as the band played and encore of the epic “Mr. Roboto”. Lasers of red and white shown and danced into the crowd. Styx closed out the night with the massive hit “Renegade”.

Once the stage was set, Foreigner emerged and started rocking into their huge hits, “Double Vision” and “Head Games”.
Lead singer, Kelly Hansen addressed the audience. “Hello Pine Knob! Welcome! … Tonight our only goal is to have a good time with you. Despite what you read in the newspapers nowadays, everything you hear tonight will be sung and played live. The question is, are you ready? ….. I said ARE YOU READY? Let’s get this rock and rolling!” The keyboard hammered into “Cold As Ice”.
After “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, Foreigner played “Dirty White Boy” as a tribute to those who have or would like to have that naughty partner. The crowd echoed back during the chorus. A few ladies in the crowd could even be found wearing shirts that exclaimed “Dirty White Girl”. When the song wrapped up, Hansen expressed, “Thank you ladies especially. we are nothing without you. That is the truth.”

The time had come for band introductions.
“Let me take a moment to introduce these fabulous guys up here,” Hansen beckoned. “Back on here on drums laying it down like nobody else can, Mr. Chris Frazier!” He then shouted out Bruce Watson on guitar, Michael Bluestein on keys, the soulful-eyed Luis Maldonado stage left on guitar and “Titanium” Jeff Pilson on bass.
Pilson took over to introduce their leader. “He is, without a doubt, the best frontman in rock right now. If you agree with me, give it up for Kelly Hansen!” The crowd erupted for each band member.

Hansen took back over on the mic and continued with some truth. “I have to say, it’s amazing, astonishing beyond belief to know that you guys have been with us for almost fifty years. Thank you so much! You are also the beautiful people that helped get this band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We have so much gratitude. I think it’s a perfect way to go back to the beginning, go back to the first song you ever heard from this band- COME ON!”
Guitars escorted the beat into massive jam “Feels Like The First Time”. Hansen encouraged the crowd to clap along. After rocking through “Urgent”, drummer Chris Frazier hammered into an incredible drum solo that lasted for several minutes. Lights strobed to the beat as the audience cheered him on. When the solo concluded, he stood up and tossed his sticks into the crowd.
He banged a gong to welcome in “Juke Box Hero”. Red and green lights pulsed along. Fans had stars in their eyes as a platform rose in the middle of the pavilion. Hansen sang above the audience, “Standing in the rain…” The crowd roared for the monstrous rock hit.
“Come on, let me hear you Pine Knob! … Are you feeling good, Michigan?” When the song finished, he thanked the crowd. “You guys are amazing! Thank you so much! Thank you!” Foreigner exited the stage.

Lighters and cell phones rose around the crowd, along with a cheer that never stopped. The band appeared once more. Hansen asked, “You wanna hear some more music PINE KNOB?” He emphasized the green jersey he was sporting that had the venue’s name. “That means we’re going to sing this next song together. Raise your hands up in the air! Take those beautiful arms and wrap them around the person closest to you. Let them know there’s love for everybody out there. Let’s do this together, come on!” Foreigner slid into the powerful, timeless ballad, “I Want To Know What Love Is”.
After the first chorus, he encouraged the audience, “Let’s see those lighters and cell phones. Let’s light this place up!” The illuminated venue sang along as Detroit’s Selected of God Choir came to the stage. “Sing it with this choir, come on! I want you to show me…” He stood with the choir to close out the song.

Hansen then comforted the audience by expressing that the band has no intention of dropping off the face of the earth, but they just will not be touring nine months out of the year as they have been. He reflected that the band had been doing these songs right for the last twenty years.
“Let’s not lament about what not might be, but let’s celebrate what has been. Thank you guys so very much. You have warmed our hearts and made us HOT BLOODED! Here we go!”
After closing out with “Hot Blooded”, Hansen again thanked the crowd and opening bands. “Please love and be caring towards each other. Thank you for so much for so long. We love you guys, good night!” They formed a line and took a bow together. Members threw drums sticks, guitar picks and even passed out a mic stand into the crowd.

Though this is a farewell tour, it truly is a celebration of memories made and legendary songs that span over almost fifty years of music. Styx, Foreigner and John Waite will be touring on the “Renegades & Juke Box Heroes Tour” across the United States through the end of August.

Review and photos by : Tiffany “Rune” Cuthrell

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