Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago IL
August 8th, 2017
Forty years ago Foreigner released their self titled album “Foreigner” and Cheap Trick released “Cheap Trick”. Foreigner hit it big almost instantly with their hit “Feels like the First Time” while Cheap Trick thrilled its fans with a collection of songs capturing the raw rock and roll fierceness of their live performances. I actually saw both bands perform when they toured together back in 1977, but that’s ancient history, well sort of…
It’s 2017, Foreigner and Cheap Trick once again team up for a 40th anniversary tour. Have they changed in 40 years? Well, everyone gets older, but the power and excitement of their live performances is still very much intact.
Starting their set with “Double Vision”, Mick Jones (the only original member) and Kelly Hansen played many of the bands hits with few surprises, but that’s exactly what the crowd wanted. “Head Games”, “Cold as Ice”, “Dirty White Boy”, “Juke Box Hero”…. you forgot just how many hits Foreigner had over the years.
Mick Jones still plays guitar and keyboards with the same passion as he did way back in ’77. Kelly Hansen, lead singer and front man, has a voice nearly identical to Lou Gramm. He never seemed to stop dancing and moving around the stage while hitting all the right notes on all the classic hits.
Call them antics, call them whatever you want, but the crowd loved it when Kelly ran into the audience halfway thru one of their opening numbers and then later appeared in a Cubs jersey singing from the top of a post by the soundboard.
The night of hits ended with the Chesterton Sandpipers Choir appearing on stage singing the backing vocals to “I Want To Know What Love Is”.
Playing in front of their signature checkerboard stage backdrop, “Hello There” began a 14 song set of classic favorites, some new tunes from the latest album “We’re All Alright” and even Tom Peterson taking the lead vocals on “I’m Waiting for the Man”, a Velvet Underground song.
Rick Nielsen might move a little slower than he did 40 years ago, but he’s still fun to watch. Switching guitars on each and every song, jumping on top of his signature riser, flinging guitar pics at the audience, his stage antics add a fun characteristic to the chords and solos that define the music of Cheap Trick.
Robin Zander, dressed in white, (similar to what he typically wore back in ’77) showed he still has that powerful voice. Not many singers can perform songs with the same depth and range 40 years later, but Robin sure can. From the smooth and melodic “Heaven Tonight” to “Surrender” and “Dream Police”, he shows he’s still got it, and will for a lot longer!
Tom Petersen, looking quite mysterious dressed in black, sporting a hat and bandana covering his neck, played his custom 12 string bass with power and fury, making those massive power chords. Tom always looks like he’s having so much fun playing up on stage. Nice work if you can get it LOL. Rick’s son Daxx took over the role as drummer a few years ago, and he does an outstanding job. Listen closely and you’ll realize just how important that drum sound is to Cheap Trick’s Music.
“Goodnight” (which only appeared on the B side of the single “Surrender”) and the appearance of Rick’s famous 5 neck Hamer custom guitar ended their set.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
Close your eyes and you’d swear it was Led Zeppelin performing…
Lead singer James Dylan, who Jason Bonham discovered on YouTube, may not look like Robert Plant, but sounded just like the 1977 version did, hitting every note pitch-perfect. On the drums of course was Jason Bonham, playing with the same intensity his dad did. Adding personal anecdotes about his dad between songs, their short set got as many of the classics in as they could – “Immigrant Song”, “Rock and Roll”, “Ramble On”… the audience wished they’d played a whole lotta more…