One of the first tours announced for the 2017 summer concert season was Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience. The show was announced back in early January and we talked to the Cheap Trick guitarist about it at the 2017 NAMM convention (Interview.) Fast forward and this tour got underway last week. We will only focus in on the headliner Foreigner for this review. Foreigner 2017 consists of Jeff Pilson on bass, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, Chris Frazier on drums, Kelly Hansen on vocals and Thom Gimbel, Bruce Watson and original member Mick Jones on guitar.
There was something special in the air as Foreigner is out celebrating the 40th anniversary of their debut self-titled record. This maybe Jones’ band but Hansen has been firmly entrenched as the focal point since 2005. His solid vocals and stage presence (almost Steven Tyler like) led the band through a 12 song greatest hits set. A funny part of the show was Jones introducing Hansen, he began talking about the next song without mentioning Hansen by his name.
Jones not only surrounded himself with a great frontman, Pilson is one of the most sold bassists around and both Gimbel and Walker complement him very well on the 6th string. Gimble also took lead on a few tracks as well. Jones took front and center as he gave a stirring rendition of “Starrider.” So glad they put this back in the set as Jones sang lead. Hansen made his way to the back by the soundboard and a hydraulic lift carried him up for a portion of “Juke Box Hero” to close out their set.
The band came out for an encore and a surprise was waiting in the wings. Jones took the microphone and welcomed original members Ian McDonald, Al Greenwood and Lou Gramm. Greenwood took his spot behind the keyboards and McDonald helped with both the saxophone and guitar. Most eyes were focused on Gramm as chants of “Looooouuuuuu” went abound. The original band along with Frazier and Pilson handled “Long, Long Way from Home.” Hansen handled lead vocals on “I Want to Know What Love Is” and Gramm handled backup vocals and sang lead on the 2nd verse. “Hot Blooded” was handled by Gramm with Hansen providing melody. Hansen welcomed Gramm and he did take center stage with him to sing a portion of the aforementioned together. That was a sight that most music fans thought they would never see. Gramm gave it his all for the 3 songs he was out there for and didn’t leave anything behind.
It was night of celebrating the history of Foreigner and only a few stops (or maybe one) will be lucky to see the original band play these songs live. Who knows what city or cities this will be pulled off in. You wouldn’t want to miss if it does happen in your city!
Cold As Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like the First Time
Juke Box Hero
Long, Long Way From Home (with Ian McDonald, Al Greenwood and Lou Gramm)
I Want to Know What Love Is (with the Rhythm of the Night choir from Uniondale, NY along with Ian McDonald, Al Greenwood and Lou Gramm)
Hot Blooded (with Ian McDonald, Al Greenwood and Lou Gramm)
We would like to thank John Lappen of Lappen Enterprises for the credentials to review the show.