On the two year anniversary of 20 Monroe Live, Dennis DeYoung kicks off his 2019 tour schedule performing in front of friends and family in Grand Rapids.
On the two year anniversary of their “Grand Opening” in downtown Grand Rapids, the newest and crowd favorite entertainment venue 20 Monroe Live celebrates on Friday evening with Dennis DeYoung and his band.
Dennis comes to Grand Rapids to start off 2019 after being home for six weeks for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Tonight’s show is part of his “The Grand Illusion 40th Anniversary Tour.” The show is made up of two sets where The Grand Illusion album is sung in its entirety before the band performs all the remaining favorite hits of the rock band STYX.
Dennis, a founding member of the rock-pop band STYX, was the band’s lead vocals, keyboardist and songwriter on a number of hits. Dennis performed with STYX from 1970 to 1999, when he left the band for personal health issues.
As Dennis’ health regained, he formed another band that now allows him to continue to tour and entertain to his many followers who have stayed dedicated and true to the crowd favorite entertainer with a distinctive and recognizable voice. In 2010, Dennis found the members that now make up his travelling band. In the process, Dennis was able to come across two guitarists that resemble his former bandmates in STYX. Lead guitarist and vocals: August Zadra. August has a very strong vocal likeness to STYX guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw. Rhythm guitarist Jimmy Leahey as the likeness of James “JY” Young. For tonight’s show, Jimmy is replaced by guitar extraordinaire Steve Brown from the rock band Trixster and Def Leppard. Craig Carter on bass guitar, Mike Morales on drums and John Blasucci on keyboards.
Tonight’s crowd at 20 Monroe Live is made up of a mixture of all ages from school children to elderly seniors. Regardless of age, everyone in attendance sings along to all the masterfully performed hits of years past.
The show begins with Dennis and his band opening with the title track “The Grand Illusion” and continuing on throughout its entirety before taking a 15-minute break to refresh and catch a breath. During the playing of the album, the set includes the two singles “Come Stay Away” and “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” which helped launch STYX to fame and make the album their best-selling album of all times.
For those who have never seen Dennis and his band perform before, they sit back in amazement of the similarity in voice of guitarist August to Tommy Shaw of STYX while singing “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).”
With the remaining band positioned on a riser stage, it allows Dennis, August and Steve to use the whole front half of the stage to show off their musicianship and allow for their playful shenanigans.
The first half of the show concludes with “The Grand Finale” before the band exits off stage for a 15-minute intermission break.
The second set starts right out with “Lorelei” and “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” before Dennis talks with the crowd.
He jokes with the crowd about returning to the stage in 2019 by asking them “Where’s the polar vortex? That’s cool, let’s go there,” as the crowd finds humor of the dire Arctic cold outside the venue this evening.
With the crowds response to Dennis’ question of seeing him for the first time, he jokingly asks “Where have you been? I will be 72 in 18 days and won’t be around forever”.
Moving back to his keyboard on the side of the stage, Dennis describes that the first song he ever wrote was in 1972 and started the journey of the STYX band. The song was “Lady.”
The animated futuristic “Mr. Roboto” sees Dennis dance on stage with August and Steve in a robotic fashion. As the song concludes Dennis stands at center stage with the robot’s mask and proclaims “I’m Kilroy.”
The show continues with the fun anthem from 1981 “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Suite Madame Blues” and “The Best Of Times.”
Upon introducing the band, Dennis introduces his wife Suzanne who is a background singer and has been married to him for 49 years. The song “Babe” was written to her and for her, but also become a number one single on the 1979 Cornerstone album while winning numerous awards.
The set concludes with “The End” from The Beatles.
As the show wraps up with an encore, Dennis finishes the evening with “Renegade” and “Come Sail Away” before joining the whole band at center stage for a full band bow to the crowd as a sign of appreciation and love for them.
Although the band and its lead vocalist are no longer together, the magic of the music still survives today in the way of two identities. The music of STYX or the sounds of STYX. For those who choose the latter, there is not a disappointment as the songs live on.
For Dennis DeYoung and his new band, they have secured their faithful followers and are always gaining more at each stop along the tour. Some guests in tonight’s show have admitted to following Dennis across the country and have seen him to the count of in the mid-20’s and plan to continue on, as long as they and Dennis are still able to.
In order to catch a celebratory anniversary show by Dennis or attend an event in the second year of existence at 20 Monroe Live, click on the links below to be included in the fun.
Set 1 (The Grand Illusion)
- The Grand Illusion 2. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) 3. Superstars 4. Come Sail Away 5. Miss America 6. Man In The Wilderness 7. Castle Walls 8. The Grand Finale
9. Lorelei 10. Keyboard solo 11. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) 12. Lady 13. Mr. Roboto 14. Too Much Time On My Hands 15. Babe 16. Prelude 12/Suite Madame Blue 17. The Best Of Times 18. The End (The Beatles cover)
19. Guitar solo 20. Renegade 21. Come Sail Away (Reprise)
Event Date: 01-FEB-2019