Live Gig Review and Photos: DJ
Foreigner has continued a long legacy of Classic Rock for ages now. The American/Brit hit makers started their career in 1976 and with a long catalog of breakthrough songs became one of the staple Classic Rock bands of their era. Albums like their eponymous debut in 1977, alongside “Double Vision”, “Head Games”, and”4″ still have proven very fruitful today as multiple arrays of radio-friendly tunes had become instantly recognizable. But as much success as the band has had over the years, there is still some bad blood and even to this day a very tumultuous relationship between founding member Guitarist Mick Jones and former singer Lou Gramm. I think by now everyone knows that Gramm has been out of the band for quite some time and the sole remaining original member of Foreigner remains Mick.
Former ex-Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen has been with the band since 2005 and for as much of a task I’m sure it was to replace the great Lou Gramm, Hansen is a very powerful vocalist and has been and still does a tremendous job covering all the classics and has been doing all their classic cuts exemplary justice. I couldn’t help but rekindle some old memories at the very infancy of the existence of this site, back when this faithful music fan was the only person running the magazine, the new Foreigner album “Can’t Slow Down” was given to me for review, I discovered Kelly’s amazing vocals then and knew he would be the perfect guy for the job. Still to this day that album is very much underappreciated.
Foreigner is on the road currently on their “Greatest Hits” tour, and on this rainy and muggy night in Chattanooga, TN, we get a chance to check them out as they play at The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium. Unfortunately left announced was the absence of Mick Jones himself, not sure if he is limiting dates due to past health history issues he has had, but on this evening is long-time guitarist Bruce Watson carrying the load. We also have long-time member now bass player Jeff Pilson ex Dokken, multi-talented producer, and all-around good dude. He has been part of every Foreigner album/tour now since 2009. Rounding up the lineup with Luis Maldonado on guitar, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, and Chris Frazier on drums.
Is nice to see an array of older fans and a younger generation of folks in the audience. The true magic of making quintessential music is that it leaves a long trail of impactful recognition for generations to come. Yes, you still hear it all the time on any classic rock station, but parents introducing their kids to the music they grew up in can only keep the bands legacy very much alive.
The night gets started with such classics as “Double Vision”, and Head Games” running alongside another prime cut in “Cold As Ice”. Kelly Hansen always provides tons of energy live, and this night is no different. His voice is instantly recognizable. As he warms up the vocal cords, he only gets better and better as the setlist moves along. Enjoyed the cunning and pristine guitar hooks of veteran guitarist Bruce Watson, as well as the very underrated drumming of Chris Frazier.
More hits keep coming via “Dirty White Boy” and “Urgent” as we quickly smash through an hour into the show. Of course “Juke Box Hero” and the always angelic choruses of classic “I Want To Know What Love Is” hits the spot just right. Hansen gets the audience to flash their phones and illuminate the venue as we all enjoy a harmonious sing-along. The night ends with “Hot Blooded” which couldn’t be a more accurate description of this steamy night in the south.
Anybody reading this would probably complain about the short setlist, and yes that is a valid assessment. But if you consider the longevity of some of these iconic bands, and the few remaining members left; one can’t help but reminisce about a lot of the bands of yesteryear ending their legacies very soon as many are in the twilight of their careers. I say instead of cherry-picking songs and or setlists, get your kids out to see some of the Rock bands on tour now as they may not be around much longer. Write yourself a bucket list, and take your families to see these shows you won’t regret it. I promise you that.