Tuesday August 16, 2016
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Styx has always put on memorable shows at the outdoor Amphitheater at Artpark. Tuesday evening the band didn’t just return, they came, they played, they conquered. This show was hands down the best Styx show this reviewer has seen at Artpark or anywhere for that matter. The band had played the venue on two other occasions in 2006 and 2014 respectively.
The night began innocently enough with the band settling in with three of their biggest songs to start things off. “The Grand Illusion”, “Too Much Time On My Hands” and the classic “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) led the charge as they do most nights, a fantastic way to begin. Original bassist Chuck Panozzo came out and played on the latter much to the delight of the crowd.
The band has been playing together and going strong since 2003 when bassist Ricky Phillips joined guitarists Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young, drummer Todd Sucherman and keyboardist Lawrence Gowan. This version of the band has now been together longer than any other and it showed in their strong performance.
The show motored along as Shaw and Gowan paid homage to David Bowie with “Space Oddity”. This was followed by the centerpiece of the whole set, “Crystal Ball”, a song written by Shaw that appeared on the album of the same name in 1976. That album also marked Shaw’s debut with the band. The timeless song sounded as poignant as ever as if Shaw’s voice hadn’t aged at all over the past forty years.
Following a cover of The Beatles “I Am The Walrus” was where the show took a turn that was unexpected. As Gowan introduced “A Criminal Mind”, a solo composition of his from the 80s, he stated how it had been “Styxified”. This song is generally played when the band is in Gowan’s native Canada but with the proximity (just across the river) it made a fitting choice. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was a rare play of “Lights”. The song appeared on the band’s 1979 release Cornerstone and was a big AOR track for the band. The crowd simply ate it up as they did when the band broke into gem “Suite Madam Blue”.
The show featured many high points, the most I’ve personally seen in my many years of covering the band. The amount of great songs in the bands arsenal is mind boggling and must make it very hard for the band to agree on what songs to play each night.
It was good to see the band dig deep into the archives on a night when there seemed to be something magical in the air. Call it extraordinary or enchanting, those who witnessed the show may attest that this one may be at the top of their list when reflecting back over the summer of 2016. The band showed their commitment to their fans by vowing to make each show better than the last. This one is going to be an extremely tough one to top.
The Grand Illusion
Too Much Time on My Hands
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Man in the Wilderness
Space Oddity (David Bowie Cover)
I Am the Walrus (Beatles Cover)
A Criminal Mind (Gowan Cover)
Suite Madame Blue
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
1999 (Prince Cover)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen Cover)
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding Cover)
Come Sail Away
Rockin’ the Paradise
Special thanks for all their help to Amanda Cagan and Maria Hays