Styx! – Casino NB – 11/12/13

Posted: 13th November 2013 by refrainmusic in Concerts

A classic rock band in every sense of the word, Styx rocked Casino NB last night for a packed house of adoring music fans, using platforms, ramps, LEDs and blasts of story telling rock & roll.  Having not seen Styx before, it was great that they chose to go deep into the library for some of the night’s best songs.  A band that is constantly on the road touring, I was surprised they hadn’t made it around here in a long, long time. There was a full house of Gen-X’s and older in the crowd, and they wouldn’t be disappointed.

Tommy Shaw - Styx - Casino NB - 11/12/13

Tommy Shaw – Styx – Casino NB – 11/12/13 ~ Refrain Photography

The anticipation was palpable within the Casino’s entertainment venue ‘The Centre’, many like me seeing the band for the first time. After a colourful entrance to the strains of the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” the members of Styx came together for “Blue Collar Man.” Tommy Shaw, resplendent in a dark, rose-and-cactus-embroidered suit coat, while the rest of the band was equally well-dressed and ready to do rock the house.

I had seen Gowan many years ago as a solo artist in Canada being a fan of his music and talented piano playing since the 80’s, and it became apparent to me quickly that Gowan has totally grown into his role as a primary singer of the band, admirably singing the songs Dennis DeYoung originally sang on songs like “Lady”, yet passionately adding his own style and flair to the band, with his signature spinning keyboard and behind-the-back playing.

For “Foolin’ Yourself,” original Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo, who regularly plays and tours with the band on a part-time basis, joined in. The band’s current regular bassist, Ricky Phillips, switched over to his custom-made Italia White Pearloid double-neck 6/12, packed in and loving it, the audience cheered and sang along.

 

James Young, Tommy Shaw, Chuck Panozzo, and - Styx - Casino NB - 11/12/13

James Young, Tommy Shaw, Chuck Panozzo, and Ricky Phillips – Styx – Casino NB – 11/12/13 ~ Refrain Photography

One thing I enjoy immensely is when a band takes the time to interact with the crowd, talking to them instead of just playing, telling stories and giving a feel for their songs.  Guitarist James “JY” Young introduced “Light Up” as a song that came out back in the days of the crowd laced sea of Bic lighters and encouraged everyone to hold up their cell phones in lieu of the traditional Bic lighter. The place lit up with a sea of tiny LCD screens as the man who co-founded Styx way back in 1970, sang the rarely played classic from 1975’s Equinox album.

Fortunately, one of those wonderful gems and a personal favourite, “Man In the Wilderness,” is still on the setlist.  They did, however, get the crowd in a semi-frenzy with another one from The Grand Illusion, “Miss America”.  “I’m Okay” put Gowan at the centre stage, assuming the vocals with stunning clarity and dazzling the audience on his spinning keyboard.  Shaw told his back-story, being a struggling musician from Mobile, Alabama and writing his first song for Styx, “Crystal Ball,” which he and the rest of the band proceeded to play to great enjoyment of the crowd and myself. Once again, Gowan showed off his talents with a remarkable piano solo.  Mr. Gowan at one point took centre stage by himself and talked about his joining with Styx and mentioned that his next song was a Gowan song for a long time, but has now had a second life and has become a Styx song.  He then played his hit song “Criminal Mind”, the band joined in part way through and the crowd sang along loudly.

Lawrence Gowan - Styx - Casino NB - 11/12/13

Lawrence Gowan – Styx – Casino NB – 11/12/13 ~ Refrain Photography

Later in the show Gowan called the crowd to the front of the stage and with sing-alongs to “Tiny Dancer,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Light My Fire,” Fat-Bottomed Girls”, a taste of “Moonlight Desires” from his own solo career, and then referencing the East Coast, and being able to smell the salt air invited the crowd to “Come Sail Away” with Styx and launched into their classic hit song! (I must confess I only heard Cartman from South Park in my head once or twice) this brought the main part of the night to an end.

Called back to the stage by emphatic cheers and clapping Styx encored with three songs “Rockin’,  The Paradise” and “Renegade,” much to the delight of the faithful. Drummer Todd Sucherman, raised the bar, rocked these classics on a massive drum kit that was pounding us throughout the night. This was Styx as I had hoped to see them, rockin’ like it was the 1970’s.

If you ever want to see a truly classic, classic rock show, Styx should be on your concert to-do list as they do not disappoint! Thanks to Styx, Casino NB, and PPRL for another amazing night of music!