A single guy, Valentine’s Day, and a Foreigner concert…not sure I thought this one through…but I wasn’t going to miss it. This is the third time I’ve seen Foreigner in their various incarnations live and I was soon to be very pleased with this nights result.
Foreigner is a British-American rock band, originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musician Mick Jones and fellow Briton, Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm, none who were with the band that was presented to us tonight. Their biggest hit single, “I Want To Know What Love Is, topped the UK and US Charts among others. They are one of the worlds best selling acts of all time with worldwide sales of nearly 80 million albums.
The fact that long time members absence (Mick only does selective shows with them now) wasn’t wasn’t bothering this heavily laden couple crowd tonight. Foreigner’s lead singer, Kelly Hansen, has grown into being the voice of Foreigner, a spot held now for eight years. The perfect and appropriate dollop of rock swagger, fan interaction and enthusiasm in his role. His voice, although uniquely his own, nailed the vocals of the Foreigner song book. During one song, while the band played away, Hansen even ventured into the audience, high fiving anyone within reach. Somehow, the masses allowed him to return to the stage.
Likewise, bass player Jeff Pilson, a Foreigner mainstay for nine years, brought his 1980’s heavy metal credentials (he was a founding member of Dokken) to the group. Other than when necessary to be at a mic delivering a solid backing vocal, Pilson rarely stayed in one place on stage.
Long time Foreigner journeyman, Tom Gimbel, continuously switched it up by playing a multitude of instruments, rhythm guitar, keyboards and a scorching saxophone. With the core of Gimbel, Pilson and Hansen, along with drummer Chris Frazier, keyboard player Michael Bluestein and guitarist Bruce Watson, listening to Foreigner’s set, it was hard to believe that Foreigner is sometimes considered a soft rock band.
The hard edge of the group was evident from the start as the enthusiastic crowd warmly greeted Hansen and company a Hansen rarely stood still, running to both ends of the stage to engage the audience. The energy continued with “Blue Morning” and “Cold As Ice.”
After things slowed a bit with “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” Hansen made sure that the audience was once again pumped up when he asked “how many naughty girls in the house?” The answer was that there were certainly plenty who enjoyed “Dirty White Boy,” (along with some generously donated ladies under garments, it’s a rock show now baby!) an already rocking Foreigner, rocked even more. Also, drawing from their acoustic album, the band did a nice unplugged version of “Say You Will.”
As many of the band members took a break, Bluestein got a moment to shine with a keyboard solo and Frazier pounded out a well-received drum solo. Then Hansen returned to the stage and quietly began singing about man who was standing in the rain, head hung low…the crowd roared back to life and “Jukebox Hero” was blasting into the night.
With and already rocking night of music in the books, the crowd wanted more and Foreigner delivered with a three song encore that started with “Inside Looking Outside”. In a previously anticipated moment, members of Moncton High Glee Club were led onto the stage and accompanied the band during “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Foreigner completed the night with “Hot Blooded.”
On this Friday night, Foreigner again proved with Hansen, they are a still a solid band that plays hit after hit. I seriously encourage you, if you like a great rock show…to take in a Foreigner show near you today! Thanks to Casino NB, PPRL, and Foreigner for a fantastic night of music!