The Soundtrack of Summer tour is in full swing featuring Foreigner, Styx, and Don Felder, a blast from the past for fans across the nation.

Summer is in full swing, which for many also brings back nostalgic memories of a hot dates in hot cars cruising down the highway to the hottest sounds of classic rock and roll. This night was a night to relive those memories as The Soundtrack of Summer tour made its stop here in Michigan.

Classic rockers Foreigner, Styx and Don Felder of The Eagles fame combined together to bring the most spectacular rock show I’ve seen this year. The party had started long before the gates even opened as I crawled my way down the jam-packed Metro Parkway on the way to Freedom Hill Amphitheater. Michiganders work hard and play harder and this was the perfect night for it.

The weather was in our favor as they day drew to a close, the clouds slight and the air cool as the fans congregated upon the roads leading in. The venue was packed upon arrival, a “SOLD OUT TONIGHT!” sign posted on the box office window, a common occurrence on this tour everywhere it’s made a stop.

Don Felder, former lead guitarist of the Eagles began his set promptly at 7pm. The seats and lawn were already nearly full as he and his touring band launched in to Already Gone. Working his way back and forth across the stage with a dazzling smile he hardly had to sing as the crowd sang along word for word.

The band kicked this party’s ass in to top gear and it only got better as the show went on. Beach balls flying through the air, people dancing in the aisles, it was party time in Detroit. Closing out his set with the iconic Hotel California he was joined on stage by Tommy Shaw of Styx. A great way to start the night as dusk approached, the clouds cleared and a nearly full moon arose over the back-end of the hill.

A quick twenty-minute set change and Styx came charging out on stage on cue. Backed by a set of video screens exploding with colorful animations spanning the back of the drum riser they launched in to The Grand Illusion. This has to be the most smiling band on the face of the planet. The energy and life they bring on stage as they connect with fans in the crowd they can see is pure and simple.

Their songs coupled with their well rehearsed theatrics on stage are among my most favorite performances to witness in live music. Vocalist Lawrence Gowan might be coupled to his rotating keyboards most of the time but he makes the most of his working space. I would describe him as a, ‘David Lee Roth‘ of the keys on his podium. The ever-present smile on Tommy Shaw‘s face, the bemused smirk of James Young coupled with the grins from Ricky Philps as they perform is infectious. Drummer Todd Sucherman even makes it easy to be seen by the fans with his setup. Don Felder repaid the courtesy of Shaw’s earlier appearance on his closing number by joining them on stage for a ripping rendition of Blue Collar Man.

A brief segue in to a solo keyboard medley by Gowan took the crowd down memory lane as with brief snippets of classics from the likes of Queen and The Doors. Tommy Shaw even departed from the stage at one point to make his way all the way up to the top of the pavilion across the top and back down whilst playing, an unexpected move that brought the camera phones out in droves.

Foreigner is no foreigner to amazing stage shows and like fine wine, they just get better with time. Tonight was their turn to headline the date, and headline might be an understatement. Scorched their name in to the very roof of the venue with their show is what they did. An opening blast of fog, lights, lasers and a deafening roar of the crowd welcomed them to the stage.

Double Vision led the charge down classic rock lane for them tonight. Non-stop hits poured forth with a flawless performance song after song. There is no excess like the excess of a rock n’ roll show and there were copious amounts of it through out the night. Not to be upstaged by Shaw, vocalist Kelly Hansen walked across the tops of the seats of from the stage, guided by fans. Arms raised, he led the crowd in the chorus of Cold As Ice before returning.

By far, some of the loudest applause of the night was when Mick Jones joined them on stage. Still rocking it like yesterday, this band shows why they are among the top of their game in the annals of music history. The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Choir joined them onstage for a song coordinated by local radio station WCSX 94.7 FM.

Several tours have been deemed the hottest thing on the road this year but this one, this one is a traveling supernova, a constellation of stars that will remain visible for an eternity. Judging by the smiles on every face in the crowd this Soundtrack of Summer will be remembered as one for the ages.

And on a more humorous note, there seemed to be a lot of ‘sounds of summer’ emanating from parked cars swaying in the shadows. I believe some fans were not ready to leave yet and were simply rocking out, reliving old memories. Ones I imagine that will keep this Soundtrack of Summer quite memorable for years to come.

Photo credit: Mick McDonald

Foreigner


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Styx


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Don Felder of the Eagles


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Remaining tour dates as of 7/12/2014:
Thu 7/17 Minneapolis, MN
Fri 7/18 Walker, MN
Sat 7/19 Sloan, IA
Tue 7/22 Denver, CO
Wed 7/23 Salt Lake City, UT
Fri 7/25 Las Vegas, NV
Sat 7/26 Los Angeles, CA
Sun 7/27 Santa Barbara, CA
Fri 8/1 Redmond, WA
Sat 8/2 Goldendale, WA
Fri 8/15 Louisville, KY
Sun 8/17 Des Moines, IA