It isn't everyday one of music's greatest bands performs in your backyard. Plus, when that band is celebrating a brand new album that is soooo good (scroll down and see my review of CRASH OF THE CROWN), it's the perfect storm! And Last Sunday.... a storm it was. But, that didn't stop the fans from enjoying an incredible night of music and fellowship.
Styx hit the stage with The Fight Of Our Lives from the new album and then burst into a nice run of classics, Blue Collar Man (Long Nights), The Grand Illusion and Lady before performing another new one, Crash Of The Crown. It is always so gratifying when an audience embraces the new music, but for STYX it isn't hard, because the new songs are not only brilliant, they fit right into the set. Rockin' The Paradise, Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man), Too Much Time On My Hands and Light Up (a forgotten gem) were complemented by Lost At Sea, Sound The Alarm and Save Us From Ourselves... because STYX music is STYX music! The band's 17 song set concluded with Mr. Roboto and Renegade, and most of those who started the show in the rain still remained. Why? Because it's STYX!
STYX line-up has changed over the years, but that doesn't do anything to the quality of the music or their performances. Seeing longtime members James (J.Y.) Young (guitar/vocals), Chuck Panozzo (bass) and Tommy Shaw (vocals/guitar) joined by Lawrence Gowan (vocals/keyboards), Ricky Phillips (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Will Evankovich (guitars/producer) just brought everything home in so many ways for not just me, but everyone in attendance. Although the music is credited to STYX, it belongs to all of us. Yes, we can all pick out the songs we love they didn't play (for me, The Best Of Times and Our Wonderful Lives were missed), but we got so much... and from my seat (mostly in the photo pit), the band really enjoyed performing for us, and I thank you guys for that, many smiles on the stage.
As far as the venue, the Arena at the Big E in West Springfield, MA is a great place to see and especially hear a show. The sound was crystal clear and as perfect as I have ever heard in an outside venue. Yes, the rain sucked... yes, missing Tom Brady's return to New England was tough, BUT this is STYX. Now that I know my lay of the land, this will not be the last time I go to a show there and certainly not the last time I will be seeing Styx! Thank you guys, for the show and the years of memories.
For information on the band, go to www.styxworld.com and please, i beg you, pick up the new album, CRASH OF THE CROWN, not only my album of the year (so far), but the second best of their amazing career!
A special thanks to Amanda, Catherine, Anne-Alise and the Concert Staff in the photo pit that really seemed concerned about how wet I was getting. P.S., I've been sick since the show but it was all so worth it, but next time... I go dry!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.