To borrow a quote from Foreigner’s 2008’s comeback compilation, there’s “No End In Sight” to its cross-continental 40th anniversary celebration or the band in general. No, 72-year-old founding guitarist Mick Jones didn’t make the latest trip and 67-year-old original singer Lou Gramm is mainly pursuing solo life outside of the occasional collaborative cameo, but that didn’t stop the latest line-up from netting a sizeable sell out at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino, adding yet another enduring rock act to its equally lengthy list of soul, comedy and specialty shows.
But it was right back to being “Hot Blooded” for the burning finale, which found all the musicians stretching out even more than before and ensuring Foreigner’s legacy lives on, regardless of exactly who’s keeping the beat.
In fact, no one seemed concerned with who was or wasn’t present, fully accepting long time front man Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken), rhythm guitarist/saxophone player Tom Gimbel (now a 25-year veteran), keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Chris Frazier. And though Foreigner didn’t perform a massive quantity of tunes throughout 95 minutes, the quality of each extended version and solo was exceptional.
A shot of “Double Vision” straight into “Head Games” sent fans darting to their feet, and by the time “Cold As Ice” came up, the charismatic Hansen joined everyone in the center of the grandstands. He then returned to the traditional stage that featured the unmistakable Foreigner logo, crooning through “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and resuming the rock come “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” “Dirty White Boy” and “Feels Like The First Time.”
Gimbel was the star of “Urgent” thanks to his strutting sax, while soon after, Frazier was a blast to watch in his bare-fisted attack on the drums. However, it was all the guys who contributed an equal share of the action throughout “Juke Box Hero,” which could also double as the best description for the current Foreigner cast in general.
For an encore, the group began in ballad mode with “I Want To Know What Love Is,” accompanied by a local chorale and a much needed reminder how essential it is to fund and support music education programs in public schools. But it was right back to being “Hot Blooded” for the burning finale, which found all the musicians stretching out even more than before and ensuring Foreigner’s legacy lives on, regardless of exactly who’s keeping the beat.
For additional information on Foreigner, visit ForeignerOnline.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino include Mo’nique (Nov. 17); Sinbad (Dec. 2); Merry Christmas with Keith Sweat and Will Downing (Dec. 9), Holiday Comedy Jam (Dec. 28); The Temptations (Jan. 14); The O’Jays (Jan. 26); “Salute To The ‘60s”: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots (Jan. 27)’ “The Price Is Right” Live (Feb. 3); Babyface and Jeffrey Osborne (Feb. 17); Gladys Knight and Brian McKnight (Feb. 22); Boyz II Men (Mar. 23); “Rain”: A Tribute To The Beatles (Apr. 28) and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (Jun. 16). For additional details, visit TheVenueChicago.com, ConcertMgmt.com and Ticketmaster.com.