Foreigner And Whitesnake Deal Up The Goods

 Concert Review
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening
St. Joseph’s Health
Amphitheater @ Lakeview
Syrcacuse, NY
Tuesday June 19, 2018
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

When I first heard the announcement of the Foreigner/Whitesnake tour I found it to be a little odd at first. At a closer glance it makes all the sense in the world. Both bands were formed and came into prominence in the late 1970’s. Foreigner struck gold with their first album in the U.S. while Whitesnake did well in the UK. It took both bands a while to break through into the opposite territory. Foreigner 4 released in 1981 was the album that did it in the UK. As for Whitesnake and David Coverdale who were starving for U.S. success it finally happened slowly with Slide It In and their 1987 release skyrocketed to #2 on the Billboard charts. Another thing they both have in common is numerous lineup changes over the years. Each band has one original member left guitarist Mick Jones with Foreigner and Coverdale with Whitesnake.

Foreigner was in the headlining slot and featured the same band as they have since 2012. The continuity really helped the band sound in top form. The longer guys play together the better they mesh with each other. Joining Jones on guitar were Bruce Watson and Thom Gimbel. Drummer Chris Frazier and bassist Jeff Pilson laid down the rhythm as Michael Bluestein kept things in tune on keyboards.

While Jones is the lone original member, it was clearly the Kelly Hansen show Tuesday evening. With his swagger and mannerisms adding to the songs alongside a great lead vocal it really enhanced songs such as “Cold As Ice”, “Head Games” and “Feels Like The First Time”. Adding to the mix was the announcement that original voice Lou Gramm was to be there but failed to show may have forced Hansen to have the show of his life. This was the best I’ve ever heard Hansen sound although I have never witnessed an off show for him. He simply gives it his all each time on that stage.

One of the best moments of the night occurred during “Starrider”. While it wasn’t the best sounding song of the night, the Mick Jones lead vocal had an authenticity about it which made it stand from the rest of the songs. “Starrider” was also enjoyable as it was not one of those songs that were force fed by radio.

While there was no explanation as to why Gramm never showed up the band seemed to more than satisfy the crowd.

Whitesnake all took to the stage at once and after a quick musical intro Coverdale said his famous catchphrase “Here’s a song for ya!” as they launched into “Bad Boys” the band’s penultimate opener, helping to set the bar and the tone for the evening. They quickly followed that with “Give Me All Your Love” and we were off and running.

Whitesnake may have played for only an hour but it seemed to breeze by even faster as the band tore through the classic hits. While this left no time for any rare songs, the band managed to paint a new look to “Slow An’ Easy” by eliminating the keyboard intro as well as a beefed up “Crying In The Rain”. It was good to hear Coverdale sound this well after all the vocal issues he’s had over the years especially when you have to close out your set with the enigmatic “Still Of The Night” simply not an easy thing to do.

Guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra both got their time to shine throughout the fast-paced set. When keyboardist Michele Luppi played the intro to “Love Ain’t No Stranger” it seemed to spark the crowd as the 8000 in attendance sang along. With the rhythm section of bassist Michael Devin and drummer Tommy Aldridge holding down the fort, it seemed a sin for the band to only get an hour.

Following the ending to “Still of the Night” the band came out center stage and said their goodbyes. As the traditional tape of Snake song “We Wish You Well” started to play it made one wonder will this be the last time we see this band? One thing is certain if it is they left with all guns blazing. Let’s just hope they are not ready to sail into the gorgeous sunset just yet.

Opening the show with a plethora of Led Zeppelin songs was Jason Bonham and his stellar band. Not only did they do the songs justice they showed just why they are the closest thing you will ever see to Zeppelin these days.

Set Lists
Long, Long Way From Home
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like The First Time
Juke Box Hero

I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

Bad Boys
Give Me All Your Love
Love Ain’t No Stranger
Slow An’ Easy
Guitar Duel
Crying In The Rain
Is This Love
Slide It I
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night

Jason Bonham
Immigrant Song
Good Times Bad Times
The Ocean
Over The Hills & Far Away
Whole Lotta Love
Since I’ve Been Loving You
Misty Mountain Hop
Rock and Roll
Stairway To Heaven

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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