Styx, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and Tesla took over Chocolate Town U.S.A. for an evening of loud guitars, hit songs and straight ahead rock-n-roll.
Tesla got the music started and wasted no time heating up the Giant Center. Tesla, unfortunately, played an abbreviated set as the opener, but with that, they were still able to fill their slot with enough music to thirst the appetites of those who came to listen to some loud, riff-filled songs that rattled the roof off the arena.
Jeff Keith on vocals, Frank Hannon on guitar, Brian Wheat on bass and Troy Luccketta on drums round out a band that have been writing and performing for over 33 years together. Guitarist Dave Rude has been with the boys since 2006 and definitely adds an exciting dynamic to the band through his enthusiasm and guitar technique. It is apparent that the guys in the band are very thankful to their fanbase, and repeatedly throughout the show shared their gratitude for all the fans coming out to hear them. Jeff never stopped smiling and was having a blast with his bandmates.
Although Tesla came about during the 80’s glam-metal scene, they have always been a rootsy, hard-rock band that prides themselves on their live performances. They always show up to rock, and easily fulfilled that goal tonight in Hershey. Highlights of the show were “What You Give,” a crowd favorite “Signs,” “Little Suzi,” and their breakout song “Modern Day Cowboy.”
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts took the stage next and right from the beginning Joan Jett brought her brand of punk and rock right to the folks who just came from listening to a rocking set. She did not back down and kept the ball rolling by tearing out hit after hit. Every band member was very intent on delivering The Blackhearts’ brand of trademarked sounds that have kept the group relevant in the music scene for many years.
Opening her show with “Bad Reputation,” Runaways’ song “Cherry Bomb,” and “Do You Wanna Touch Me” set the bar high for her portion of the concert. There was definitely a high contingency of fans that came out to support Jett, who has been referred to as the Godmother of Punk, and reasonably so.
The opening part of her set took life, as the middle of her performance settled into the band’s rhythm allowing them to end the set with a forceful punch. “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll”, “I Hate Myself for Loving You” and encoring with Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” finished her set and brought the energy level up several more notches.
Onto the headliner and in this case, up to this point, would mean a performance that must be stellar. Following Tesla and Jett would mean a set that would be electric, full of “more” energy and kick than the two previous acts and a show that would rouse an already ecstatic crowd.
Styx, with a history spanning back to the early 1970’s from the Chicago area, indeed seemed up to the task as they supplied an entertainment show of musical power and precision. Dual guitars and vocals by great musicians Tommy Shaw and James “J.Y.” Young, keyboards and vocals by Lawrence Gowan, newest member Ricky Phillips on the bass and drums by Todd Sucherman. The band even brought out founding member Chuck Panozzo to sit in with the boys on the bass for several songs.
Playing mostly classic hits, the band also highlighted some newer songs from their most current album The Mission, released in 2017. “Gone Gone Gone” was a great opening song as it took off right out of the gate and ignited the charged-up crowd. When Tommy Shaw asked the fans who was here to see a Styx show for the first time, a big cheer came. When he asked who was here that have seen the band before, there was even a louder roar. This is the perfect testament to the enduring quality of the band’s music.
As Styx were rolling through their music catalog, accompanying album covers would appear on the large video screen behind them. Seeing some of the classic covers from Equinox (1975), The Grand Illusion (1977), Pieces of Eight (1978), and Paradise Theatre (1981) brought back waves of memories. J.Y. shared how thankful he was to the fans and how The Grand Illusion sold over 3 million copies, 1 million of those being on eight-track, as he laughed.
Styx sounded awesome as they all made vital contributions to the show. Keyboard player and singer Lawrence Gowan was full of energy and was able to highlight his skills on his solo version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the trance-inducing “Come Sail Away.” Tommy and J.Y. played plenty of guitar solos and shared lead vocals as well.
A fan could have bought a ticket to see any one of these bands and been satisfied, but this was a triple bill that paid off way more than the normal price of admission. Each band has a number of hits and filled The Giant Center with loud guitars and attitude all night long. Although one would expect that each of these bands would have its own fanbase, everybody that came out seemed to support each group equally and enjoyed the entire offering of songs that the groups had to share.
Event Date: 30-JUN-2018