As if the comprehensive “40: Forty Hits From Forty Years” double disc and outing saluting that very anniversary wasn’t enough for the current edition of Foreigner, the final weekend of that entire tour also included a reunion by all the surviving original members. Given the momentous undertaking that drew fans from all across the globe to the seemingly random Soaring Eagle Casino somewhere in the middle of Michigan (Mount Pleasant to be exact), it was also the ideal time to film a fresh DVD and TV special that will also be the subject of a live album.
Across the entire process, Foreigner didn’t just salute 40 years in ideal style and format, but set a sky high benchmark that present and past members of Chicago, Journey, Styx and so many more peers would be fools not to at least try to follow in the near future.
Prior to the extra special aspect of the occasion, co-founding guitarist Mick Jones, front man Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, rhythm guitarist/saxophone player Tom Gimbel, keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Chris Frazier flew through “Cold As Ice,” “Head Games,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “Headknocker” with virtual fireballs, which was a testament to the players’ mastery of the material, despite only one of them initially playing on any of it. An acoustic set that started with “Say You Will” and “The Flame Burns Bright” found all of the above players keying into the tender side of the melodic rockers’ catalogue, though an introduction of co-founding front man Lou Gramm (now fully restored to his former vocal glory) prior to “Fool For You Anyway” truly lit up the showroom.
Hansen resumed the primary singer role for a saxophone-filled “Urgent,” passed the baton to Jones for the trippy, laser-adorned “Starrider,” then Bluestein and Frazier steered away from words for the obscure instrumental jam “Tramontane.” When Hansen reemerged in the center of the seating area for an extended and additionally aggressive “Juke Box Hero,” everyone screamed along, especially out of elation that the line “couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show” didn’t apply to the lucky few thousand who snagged seats before that was quickly the case.
After a brief set change, even those who didn’t make it inside could’ve quite possibly heard the roar of the crowd or at least pictured the scene when Jones, Gramm, rhythm guitarist Ian McDonald, bassist Rick Wills, keyboardist Al Greenwood and drummer Dennis Elliott stepped on stage together for their first pair of Foreigner shows since 1980! Considering the practical lifetime since their last performance together, it was astonishing how solid they sounded throughout the vintage “Feels Like The First Time,” “Double Vision,” “Long, Long Way From Home” and “Dirty White Boy.”
Thankfully, both generations of band members united for the encore, trading leads and licks during the gospel choir-assisted “I Want To Know What Love Is,” then revved it back up to the red line for the ferocious “Hot Blooded.” Across the entire process, Foreigner didn’t just salute 40 years in ideal style and format, but set a sky high benchmark that present and past members of Chicago, Journey, Styx and so many more peers would be fools not to at least try to follow in the near future.
For additional information on Foreigner, visit ForeignerOnline.com.
For a list of upcoming shows at the Soaring Eagle Casino, SoaringEagleCasino.com.