Sometimes heading into something where the expectation is high can lead to a letdown. This was not the case Tuesday evening at Artpark as Styx put on a concert that most of their contemporaries can only marvel at. The show marked the band’s first visit back since that infamous 2006 visit where approximately 25,000 crammed into the Amphitheater on that hot summer night. It was one of the first shows where Artpark thought about capping the crowds by ticketing the shows which is where we are at today.
Taking the stage at precisely 8:00 PM the band wasted no time serving up “The Grand Illusion” before taking the sold out crowd of 10,000 through classics “Too Much Time On My Hands” and “Fooling Yourself” both of which were written and sung by guitarist Tommy Shaw.
The show moved along at a rapid pace as one hit after another followed. Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan said he had the date of this show circled on his calendar. The band clearly remembered their last appearance at the venue as guitarist James “JY” Young introduced “Light Up” a song off Equinox, as he made note how the song had almost a thirty year span of being played live. Young also treated the Artpark faithful to his trademark song “Miss America” which hadn’t been played since April.
The rhythm section featuring power drummer Todd Sucherman and bassist Ricky Phillips is sound as you can get as they played solidly throughout the evening. These two are the unsung heroes of the band because neither one takes a turn on lead vocals and they just sit back keep it all together night after night.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the evening was during Gowan’s classic rock medley where he sits at his keyboard and sings a few lines of classic covers. On this particular night, Gowan had the crowd singing along to the Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, Paul McCartney’s “Live And Let Die”. Closing it out with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” which the crowd appeared to sound the loudest all night. Gowan was easily in command as he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. From there Styx closed with the classic rock staple “Come Sail Away”.
Back for encore’s “Rockin’ The Paradise” and “Renegade”, the band closed out the show in grand fashion.
The band has been on the touring circuit every year since 1999, averaging approximately one hundred shows a year. It is no wonder how easy they make everything seem as whatever they play seems to come naturally and no surprise since this particular version of Styx has now been together for over ten years.
If you were to see this band ten times you can almost guarantee that each show would be unique. With the amount of songs in their repertoire, they can shuffle songs in and out on a nightly basis and not play the same set list twice should they so choose.
The band is currently firing on all cylinders and every summer for the past few years have taken different partners with them out on the road to keep things fresh. At some point perhaps the stars will align so that Shaw can reunite with his Damn Yankees cohorts Jack Blades, Michael Cartellone and Ted Nugent in the not so distant future.
The Grand Illusion
Too Much Time On My Hands
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Man In The Wilderness
I Am The Walrus
Suite Madam Blue
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Lawrence Gowan Rock Medley
Come Sail Away
Rockin’ The Paradise