DVD Reviews

Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of 8 Live DVD Review

Released by: Eagle Rock Ent

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Classic Rock

Links: http://www.styxworld.com/

 

Line Up:

James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, guitars, keyboards)

Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars)

Todd Sucherman (drums)

Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards)

Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals)

Chuck Panozzo (bass guitar)

 

Tracklist:

1) Intro/1978

2) The Grand Illusion

3) Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)

4) Superstars

5) Come Sail Away

6) Miss America

7) Man In The Wilderness

8) Castle Walls

9) The Grand Finale

10) Great White Hope

11) I’m Okay

12) Sing For The Day

13) The Message

14) Lords Of The Ring

15) Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)

16) Queen Of Spades

17) Renegade

18) Keyboard Interlude

19) Pieces Of Eight

20) Aku-Aku

 

The origins of any band usually starts in some dark basement in rural big cities around their native countries. The classic rock band Styx started their journey in the 60’s playing music in a basement in Chicago where the Panozzo brothers started their band. Chuck Panozzo, playing electric bass, John Panozzo, playing drums, and Dennis DeYoung a curious neighbor who overheard the brothers playing decided to join the band as well playing keyboards, this formed the nucleus of the band they’d be with for the next three decades.

Originally the band started playing alike many other unknowns at the time, the local bars and weddings under the moniker of “TRADEWINDS and TW4”. But the bands rise to popularity really started after signing with A & M Records and with the release of their 5th album, EQUINOX; alongside the addition of a young Tommy Shaw which brought a spark of fresh and mix of country/bluesy guitar playing. The band of course made it big when they released “Grand Illusion” and Pieces of Eight” two of the band’s most popular albums to date.

With Dennis DeYoung’s top 10 hit, “Come Sail Away”, and Tommy Shaw’s “Fooling Yourself”, THE GRAND ILLUSION stayed on the Billboard’s album charts for 2 years.The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight brought STYX’s first string of triple platinum albums. PIECES OF EIGHT contained Tommy Shaw’s two hits, “Renegade” and “Blue Collar Man” which further propelled the band commercially.

To celebrate those two memorable albums Eagle Rock released simultaneously DVD, BLU-RAY AND DVD/2CD of THE GRAND ILLUSION/PIECES OF 8 LIVE. This 20-song two-hour and 11-minute presentation features high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo. It was filmed at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, Tennessee, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time.

The songs here take fine shape as the band now with in it’s current line-up consists of James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, guitars, keyboards); Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals) and Chuck Panozzo (bass guitar). For long time fans of the band is a nice treat to see the guys rocking out after nearly 30 years, despite the change in the line up in the lead vocals department when Dennis Deyoung was forced to leave the band due to health issues, Canadian vocalist and keyboard player Lawrence Gowan his replacement provides a nice solid voice and does a faithful job on the classic cuts like from the band’s back catalog like “Come Sail Away”, “I’m Okay” and “Pieces of Eight”. I always believed that Tommy Shaw was a great fit for the band and even 30 years later he still strike a chord with it’s patented sound with passion and precision, on the classic Styx cuts “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “Renegade” he sounds better then ever. “Castle Walls” is another great track that rules the live setting with it’s phenomenal instrumental parts.

I know some fans give Gowan a bad rap because let’s face it Dennis Deyoung is not in the band and hasn’t been for well over 12 years, but he is a terrific showman and does justice to all the great Styx classics, heck even songs like “Main in the Wilderness” who most fans probably never go to hear live make it worthwhile. Styx’s music in these two albums like some of their other works revolved around fantasy writing and you hear that on another classic tune “The Message/Lords of the Ring” which despite some fans conclusion that is loosely based on Tolkien and it’s novels, is actually about the illusion of celebrity and “making it”. The “ring” is the “brass ring” of success. This particular tune does very well with the added visuals in this live settings environment.

I was never a huge Styx fan even though it was a little before my time, you can’t deny the impact they made in their time and with these two very popular albums; is nice to hear them in a live theater in their entirety something the band had not fulfilled before.  Despite Styx being more of a guilty pleasure for their time, most fans can’t deny listening to “Come Sail Away” over and over again when the song comes on the gazillion classic rock stations even to this day. I don’t have problem with the band carrying on without Deyoung, they do very well together, James Young does a great job in it’s vocal lead parts and as above mentioned the guitar playing of Shaw is still in fine form. The whole concert is shot professional in high definition and rest assure you will get a clear crystal sound and video from the set. I don’t see why any fans of Styx shouldn’t check this package out and if you did not get a chance to catch the band live the last time be sure to check them out again as they hit the road one more tine in February 10th of this year playing select shows around the country.

Written by Denys

Ratings    Denys    8/10

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Comments

 

One thought on “Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces of 8 Live DVD Review”

  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Styx since stumbling across my dad’s LP of The Grand Illusion! Lawrence Gowan is the perfect fit for Styx since DeYoung isn’t with them. I have seen them live multiple times with him and like you said, he is an incredible showman! I need to get this set ASAP!!! Thanks for reminding me!

     

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