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Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx at the Rialto Square Theatre: Review

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This is my second time seeing Dennis DeYoung, former singer and keyboardist of the classic rock band Styx. The first time I saw him in Anaheim, Ca two years ago blew me away. Seeing him perform is always a treat because you get to hear ALL the hits. I knew this was gonna be a great show.

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The first thing I notice as the band kicked in with "The Grand Illusion" to start the show was the production of the stage, a big step up since last time I saw him. Suddenly Dennis opened his mouth singing “Welcome to the Grand Illusion”, and you found yourself in 1977 again. His voiced has hardly aged at all. Song by song, word by word, note by note, he was hitting them all, or at least most of them. I say this because I knew he was saving up his voice for a concert he’s performing in LA next week that will be filmed for an upcoming AXS TV special and a DVD/CD release. So he didn’t hit ALL of the high notes, but his voice was still in great form and great quality.

He also had a great band with great musicians, specifically guitarist/vocalist August Zadra. He sang all the Tommy Shaw-penned hits and he hit a home run. He stayed true to the spirit of the songs and the spirit of the arrangement. The best highlights for August was singing “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” and “Crystal Ball” (which was added to the set this past year). And as August sang the Tommy Shaw songs, Dennis manned the keyboards, playing all the great keyboard solos.

Another great moment was before playing an acoustic version of “Don’t Let It End”, Dennis called out to his bass playing and the 2 guitar players and he explain the making of the song “Renegade”, and they performed a rendition of the song based off Tommy Shaw’s original slow acoustic demo.

Dennis DeYoung is a great showman. Anyone’s perception of him as this mellow soft rock singer-songwriter is completely inaccurate. He’s a true rocker and a true performer. The true highlight of the night for the audience was a spell-bounding rendition of “Suite Madame Blue”, which ended with a two minute standing ovation.

My only biased opinions: I would’ve preferred to heart to full electric version of “Don’t Let It End” rather than the acoustic version. I am glad he played is sole Top 10 hit as a solo artist “Desert Moon” and “Crystal Ball”, and it was great to hear "Babe", "The Best of Times", "Mr. Roboto", and "Show Me The Way", but it would have been really awesome to hear some deep cuts such as “Castle Walls”, “Queen of Spades”, “Love At First Sight”, “Pieces of Eight”, “First Time”, or even “Born For Adventure” (which he recently had started playing in his shows too).

Overall great show. Great energy. Dennis is now all warmed up for his LA gig!

Review: Luis Echeverria

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