Rock legends Styx packed the Northern Lights Theater at Potwatomi Casino in Milwaukee, Wis., on Feb. 22. It was the second of three sold-out nights and featured an intimate two-hour set sans opener. The show offered an up-close experience before they embark on a national co-headline stint with Foreigner this spring dubbed "The Soundtrack of Summer" Tour.
Lights dimmed shortly after 8 p.m. and Styx were immediately firing on all cylinders as they broke into "The Grand Illusion" from their 1977 album. "Too Much Time on My Hands" brought high-fives from awestruck fans that were psyched to have turned back the clock a few decades, if only for a night.
Guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw looked and sounded great. Vocal duties bounced back and forth between Shaw and Lawrence Gowan on keys, with rich harmonies throughout contributed by James "J.Y." Young and Ricky Phillips on guitar and bass, respectively. Drummer Todd Sucherman had missed a handful of shows while his wife was giving birth but returned for this show. Young joked, "He had to come back on the road to catch up on sleep." Original bassist and founding member Chuck Panozzo made a couple appearances on the night. He performed on "Fooling Yourself" and returned later in the evening for "Come Sail Away."
While there was no shortage of music, considering their operatic-like compositions, a fair amount of time was given to lighthearted jokes and storytelling by Shaw, Young and Gowan between songs. It provided an even balance to the show and also gave some insight into the band's unique personalities.
There were numerous highlights during the show. Shaw performing "Boat on the River" on mandolin and acoustic guitar for "Crystal Ball" were near the top. Gowan took over for a solo sing-along that featured a medley of Bowie, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, McCartney and Pink Floyd before a rousing rendition of "Come Sail Away." However, it might have been the beautiful performance of "Suite Madam Blue" that climaxed into jam session with Young leading the way on guitar that was worthy of the highest praise.
Styx left the stage after roughly an hour and forty-five minutes of play. They returned after a brief break for a two-song encore that included "Rockin' the Paradise" followed by "Renegade" that brought many fans to their feet--atypical in the lounge setting of the Northern Lights Theater. The band stuck around long enough to shake hands with fans in the front and signed a few autographs before leaving the stage.
Styx / Foreigner 2014 Arena Tour Dates:
Fri 5/16 - Oklahoma City, OK - Zoo Amphitheatre
Sat 5/17 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre
Sun 5/18 - Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Tue 5/20 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
Thu 5/22 - Estero, FL - Germain Arena
Fri 5/23 - St. Augustine, FL - St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Sat 5/24 - Atlanta, GA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sun 5/25 - Orange Beach, AL - The Wharf
Thu 5/29 - Tuscaloosa, AL - Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre
Fri 5/30 - Simpsonville, SC - Charter Amphitheatre
Sat 5/31 - Charlotte, NC - PNC Music Pavilion
Sun 6/1 - Virginia Beach, VA - Farm Bureau Amphitheatre
Thu 6/5 - Cincinnati, OH - Horseshoe Casino
Fri 6/6 - Chicago, IL - FirstMerit Bank Pavilion
Sat 6/7 - Maryland Hts., MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Sun 6/8 - Kansas City, MO - Starlight Theatre
Thu 6/19 - Boston, MA - Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Fri 6/20 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live
Sat 6/21 - Big Flats, NY - Summer Stage
Mon 6/23 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone Casino
Fri 6/27 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods Resort Casino
Sat 6/28 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon Jones Beach Theater
Fri 7/4 - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion
Sat 7/5 - Bangor, ME - Darlings Waterfront
Sun 7/6 - Gilford, NH - Bank of NH Pavilion
Wed 7/9 - Canandaigua, NY - Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
Thu 7/10 - Detroit, MI - Freedom Hill Amphitheater
Thu 7/17 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
Fri 7/18 - Walker, MN - Moondance Jam
Tue 7/22 - Denver, CO - Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Wed 7/23 - Salt Lake City, UT - USANA Amphitheatre
Fri 7/25 - Las Vegas, NV - Orleans Arena
Sat 7/26 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
Sun 7/27 - Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl