The crowd was most definitely “Hot Blooded”, as Foreigner performed brilliantly at last night’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center right here in Music City . The sold out Laura Turner Hall was filled to capacity with screaming, singing, jumping, swaying, arm-pumping fans as the British-American group, founded in 1976, took to the stage with more passion and energy and seemingly more talent than ever.
Kelly Hansen, eight year veteran of Foreigner, took command of the stage, the audience and Foreigner’s catalog of music, as if he’d been one of the original members those thirty something years ago. With a rock-star presence reminiscent of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Hansen works the crowd into a mild frenzy with high fives and hugs, jumping from stage to aisle to chair arms, chairs left empty by standing, screaming fans.
At first, you might think Hansen is a bit over-the-top, too dramatic in his movements, posturing and facial expressions, but soon you are into him, feeling his authentic groove and love of the art, as he plays to the women of the audience, with catcalls and cheering-on from the men.
Another key player is Tom Gimbel; known as Mr. Everything, long time Foreigner member and talented instrumentalist who plays, and plays well, rhythm guitar, keyboards, flute and a scorching hot sax. And we all love scorching hot sax, don't we?
Hanson, Gimbel, nine year Foreigner bass player and former heavy metal Dokken member Jeff Pilson , along with extraordinary drummer Chris Frazier and fast-fingered keyboard player Derek Hilland gave a hard rock feel to the band normally pigeon holed as soft rock.
And the crowd loves it, screaming their enthusiasm to well-known Foreigner hits like “Double Vision”, “Cold as Ice” and “Waiting For a Girl Like You”; the women quickly getting in touch with their “naughty girl” side as the band rocked out “Dirty White Boy”.
It seemed the night was complete, the audience satiated, thoroughly enjoying the evening, when came a big surprise onto the stage – were you even missing him? – Mick Jones! Foreigner’s founding father, chief song writer extraordinaire, leader and incredible guitarist, as he joined in on “Feels Like the First Time” – and the concert was complete.
It was a one night, sold out event, when once again our classically designed (Aria ready, as Hansen put it) symphony hall went into chameleon mode, with rock band perfect acoustics and good-all-over seating.
Thought Schermerhorn was for orchestras, conductors, stuffy opera singers and people? Think again. Though you can get your fill of classical music at its best, this is the most versatile venue in Tennessee. If you don’t believe me, check out their calendar, for upcoming shows like Al Jarreau, Don Williams, The Beach Boys and Hugh Laurie. It’s simple; nashvillesymphony.org – whether you are looking for symphony music or not!