Styx, Foreigner, and John Waite at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA 6-28-24

Styx, Foreigner, and John Waite at Honda Center in Anaheim, CA 6-28-24

Driving up to the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA, I immediately noticed the long line to the front entrance that wrapped the building before the doors opened. It seemed everyone wanted to get inside early and not miss a note from any of the bands on this evening of the Renegades &Juke Box Heroes Tour with Styx and Foreigner (advertised as “Together live for the last time ever”), and John Waite.

John Waite and his band (Tim Hogan, Brent Woods, Alan Childs) opened the show to a packed crowd with “Midnight Rendezvous,” one of three songs in his set by The Babys, and he sang two Bad English songs(both bands of which Waite was the lead vocalist), including the 1989chart-topper, “When I See You Smile.” The audience turned that song and “Missing You” into sing-alongs. Waite reinforced his musical chops by belting out a chill-inducing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole LottaLove” to close his eight-song set.

Foreigner and Styx have been co-headlining this tour and it was Styx’s turn next that night. I’ve seen Styx perform more times than I can count, and can confirm that their live shows keep getting better! It was no illusion that they are all incredible musicians and performers as they opened strong with “Grand Illusion.”

Next up was “Too Much Time on my Hands,” and the crowd wanted even more time with Tommy Shaw (making magic with consistently smooth and strong vocals and guitar sounds), Lawrence Gowan (rich vocals and on a spinning keyboard, all while constantly moving, dancing, jumping, and kicking, and sometimes playing the keys behind his back), Todd Sucherman (not only keeping time, but making his drums sing with his high-level musicianship), Will Evankovich(produced and co-wrote Styx’s 2017 and 2021 albums “The Mission”and “Crash of the Crown”), Terry Gowan (Lawrence’s brother and a valuable addition), and James “JY” Young (introduced as the “godfatherof Styx,” who has played, sung on, and written on every Styx album).Styx co-founder Chuck Panozzo joined the band on stage for a few songs and it’s always a pleasure when he appears. He adds to the nostalgia and plays with heart.

This band is energetic, polished, and talented, with a fantastic stage production where these top-notch musicians cover all parts of the stage and the riser. The audience was on its feet during the entire 13-song set, erupting with cheers during the first notes of each song, fully engaged in all the comforting words and sounds of Styx.Styx rocked out to the classics, such as “Lorelei” and “Miss America,”which showcase Young’s strong guitar riffs. Adding “Crash of theCrown” midset combined the classics and new.Styx concluded their main set with the classic, “Come Sail Away,” with the audience enthusiastically joining on vocals. They finished by playing two encore songs, “Mr. Roboto” and, highlighting Shaw’s vocals, “Renegade,” leaving the fans wanting more.

Everyone was again on their feet for Foreigner from the first song of their 10-song set (“Double Vision”) to the last song (“Hot Blooded”).This band consists of Jeff Pilson, Kelly Hansen, Bruce Watson, ChrisFrazier, Michael Bluestein, and Luis Maldonado. Just like the two bands before them, the audience knew the words and sang even louder!Hansen has a powerful voice and never stays still, even doing jumping jacks during “Feels Like the First Time.” He constantly involved the audience in every part of the arena and everyone enjoyed participating, especially during “I Want to Know What Love Is.”Foreigner invites a local youth choir to sing this song with the band, and Hansen introduced that night’s choir as the Los Alamitos HighSchool Sound FX. He stated, “One of the big reasons we have these beautiful, talented, young choirs on stage with us to sing this song is to make everyone aware of the lack of funding for school music programs.” He added that he and his band members participated in school music programs, and they want the same opportunity for these youths.

Frazier entertained us with a 4-minute drum solo between “Urgent”and “Juke Box Hero,” which gave Hansen time to sneak to the back of the arena near the sound board. Hansen appeared under a spotlight high up on a hydraulic lift to the roar of the crowd! He sang a few lines of “Juke Box Hero” up there (with some confetti cannons), was lowered, walked through the crowd, and hopped up on stage to finish the song.

After the encore, the show concluded with Hansen thanking the audience and saying, “I know we told you this was our farewell tour, and it means we aren’t gonna tour 9 months a year anymore.We’re still gonna be around, just in a more selective way.”It was an entertaining and fulfilling evening of rock and roll!

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