One thing Mick Jones didn’t envision when he was putting together the current version of Foreigner was who he would replace himself with. Jones has not been on the road with the band now for almost a year due to medical issues. He hopes to resume touring soon. With Mick on the sidelines, Foreigner soldiered on and played on the outdoor stage at Artpark in Lewiston, NY Tuesday evening. Bruce Watson has been filling in for Mick and the former Rod Stewart guitarist has not disappointed.
The band hit the stage to what has been their customary opener as of late, “Double Vision”. “Head Games” followed by “Cold As Ice” made the concert get off to a blazing start. It was during “Cold As Ice” that singer Kelly Hansen climbed the stage scaffolding. With all the collapsing stages that have been going on everywhere, one would say Hansen is taking a huge risk but he did so nevertheless. With Foreigner you know you will get a ton of classic hits as well as one or two gems thrown in to spice up the set. This night was no different as “Blue Morning, Blue Day” and “Say You Will” were thrown into the mix. The only downside to “Blue Morning” was the sorely lacking vocals of its original singer Lou Gramm. Hansen did a good job until this point, but somehow could not replicate the vocals to bring out the overall charm this song usually has. He did do an amazing job however on the latter, an acoustic version of “Say You Will” was one of the highlights. Another thing Foreigner should have done was include a cut from their 2009 release Can’t Slow Down as it would be good to see a song or two Hansen actually recorded with the band. Bassist Jeff Pilson, who has played with many artists but is mainly known as playing in Dokken during their glory years, was literally all over the stage throughout the ninety-five minute set.
Mick Jones wasn’t the only band member on the shelf as usual keyboardist Michael Bluestein was unable to perform as well. He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer recently which has him also off the road for some significant time. His replacement was Ollie Marland who played an interesting keyboard solo that led directly into drummer Mark Schulman’s impressive solo. The band ended the main set with their #1 song “I Want To Know What Love Is” backed by the Medina High School A’Cappella Select Ensemble. Back for a quick encore of “Hot Blooded” the band sent the faithful home feeling nostalgic.
Foreigner is just one of those bands who are still enduring the test of time. It is really hard to believe it will have been thirty years on July 3, that Foreigner headlined Rich Stadium with Loverboy, Ted Nugent and Iron Maiden. The strength of the catalog is where it all begins. It takes solid performances just like this one to keep the fans coming back.
Cold as Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Say You Will
Feels Like the First Time
Juke Box Hero
Long, Long Way from Home
I Want to Know What Love Is
Special Thanks to John Lappen for allowing us to review the show!!
For more on Foreigner check out www.foreigneronline.com