Tommy Shaw and his cohorts in Styx led a night of classic rock in St. Louis to bring the past back to life on the Soundtrack of Summer Tour.
Rock superstars, Styx, headlined a night that seemed like a classic rock time machine in St. Louis on June 7. Although the skies were filled with ominous clouds and local weather forecasters warned of thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes, fans packed into Verizon Wireless Amphitheater to see Styx, Foreigner, and the Don Felder Band. St. Louis local and vocalist/guitarist for El Monstero (a Pink Floyd tribute band) and The Incurables, Jimmy Griffin, opened the show with his one-man acoustic set, setting the mood and getting the crowd warmed up with his 20-minute set.
Following Jimmy Griffin’s performance was the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter/guitarist and former member of The Eagles, Don Felder, who played for nearly an hour. His set was a trip to the past glory days of The Eagles, beginning with Already Gone and ending with the iconic Hotel California. Felder’s vocals were as pitch-perfect as ever, and The Don Felder Band (drummer Steve DiStanislao, keyboardist Timothy Drury, guitarist Greg Suran, and bassist Shem von Schroeck), all consummate musicians in their own rights, played as though they had written the songs themselves. Not only were the vocals as spot on as Felder’s own, but every little nuance in the music made it seem as though I was seeing The Eagles in their heyday, one of the greatest compliments I could ever give the band because I have seen The Eagles a number of times, beginning in the 1980s. The crowd sang along from the start and showed increasing enthusiasm as the band progressed into Felder’s solo catalog, You Don’t Have Me, and Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride), then returning to more hits from The Eagles.
While The Don Felder Band was powerful in its minimalism, Foreigner came on with all the glitz and glam of their 1980s stardom, replete with members running across the stage, switching places and singer Kelly Hansen jumping from the stage, hopping over the barricade and running through the audience while the band (guitarists Mick Jones and Bruce Watson, drummer Chris Frazier, bassist Jeff Pilson, and pianist Michael Bluestein) continued without missing a beat. The band opened with Double Vision, followed by Head Games and Cold as Ice before original guitarist Mick Jones came onstage and played the remainder of their hour and fifteen minute set, which included the dreamy and rare guest lead vocals of Mick Jones. The finale was a rendition of Hot Blooded that left the crowd wanting more and big shoes for Styx to fill.
Not to be outdone, Styx came onstage and launched immediately into Grand Illusion to the delight of the audience. It was another 75-minute set of hits from every phase of their 40-plus year history, including Crystal Ball, Rockin’ the Paradise, and Foolin’ Yourself. During a few songs, guitarists Tommy Shaw and James ‘J.Y.’ Young and bassist Ricky Phillips rocked some synchronized dance moves while singer/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan danced at his keyboards and drummer Todd Sucherman kept the beat. Most memorable, however, was an epic piano medley of The Rolling Stonesâ€™ You Canâ€™t Always Get What You Want, Paul McCartney and the Wingsâ€™ Live and Let Die, and Queenâ€™s Bohemian Rhapsody, which eventually segued into Come Sail Away.
I have seen not only opening act Jimmy Griffin, but also Don Felder (solo and with The Eagles), Foreigner, and Styx a number of times through the years and this was probably one of the best performances from each artist. Every member looked happy to be in St. Louis and seemed to have a great time performing, sharing themselves and their music with the fans.