Summer concert season is in full swing and one the feature triple bills this year includes 80’s rockers Tesla, rock punk queen Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and headliner classic rock giants Styx. The six week tour is currently underway and made a stop at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Greenwood Village, CO Tuesday night.
Tesla are no strangers to touring with Styx and they hit the stage early and performed a short but always incredible set in front of their early arriving fans. Emerging from the 80’s the band is still led on stage by the raspy vocals from Jeff Keith and bands founding guitarist Frank Hannon. Understandably the band was first to warm up the crowd and they played a short set that highlighted some of their hits including the monster ballad “Love Song” and crowd favorite “Signs”. Tesla are celebrating 30 years together as a band and continue give their fans a fantastic performance every night out.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Jett was up next and performed a nice set mixing in originals, covers, and a few Runaway songs. I actually had not seen Joan Jett live before and she looks and sounds great. The rock queen and the Blackhearts opened up with their hit “Bad Reputation” followed right into the Runaway song “Cherry Bomb” which got a lot of airplay recently when it was included in the marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Longtime keyboardist Kenny Laguna shared stories of the early days of struggles the band had endured and mentioned the soon to be released documentary titled “Bad Reputation” than follows the band in their early years. The band played a new song “Fresh Start” written by guitarist Dougie Needles that is featured in the film. Jett and Blackhearts closed out their night in fine form by getting all of the fans on their feet singing along to the trio of hits “I Love Rock n’ Roll”, “Crimson & Clover”, and “I Hate Myself for Loving You.”
Styx took the stage and electrified the crowd celebrating 40 years of the release of their iconic album The Grand Illusion, highlighted several songs from their first album of new material in 14 years The Mission, and even dusted off a encore classic. The band led the night off with “Gone Gone Gone” from the The Mission followed right into “Blue Collar Man” and then “The Grand Illusion” before catching their breath. Vocalist/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan has been a staple in the band for some time and is fun to watch live as he spins his keyboard in a circle often throwing his leg up as if he was stretching. The guitar duo of Tommy Shaw and James “J.Y.” Young are still the bands foundation and have mastered dual harmonies and signature guitar solos. One of the highlights of the night was when original bassist Chuck Panozzo joined the band onstage for a few songs. Chuck has been struggling with a few health issues lately but the crowd loved his presence and constant smile on his face. The biggest surprise of the night might have been when the band went into encore “Mr. Roboto” which has not been played live in almost 35 years. This rocked up version provided lots of excitement and constant cheering from the crowd.
There are a lot of things to be excited about if you are fans of the band Styx. These five talented musicians are still making music, touring, and have lit the same fire the band blasted off with some 40 plus years ago.
Photos and review by Jason Bullinger