Thursday, August 19, 2010
Last weekend i went to see Foreigner at the Bayside Toyota Concert Pavilion in southern Maryland. We had good 9th row center seats. It was the first time i've been to the St Leonard's venue (which is owned and is a revenue stream for the volunteer fire department) and i really liked it. There was a sort of fair-like atmosphere, with a row of concessions up one side of the field. Plus it felt like the entire town of St. Leonard was participating in the event in one way or another - bbq trucks were set up on the side of the road, everyplace was offering parking (don't go to the $20 place, there is a $5 field around the circle to the left), the sheriff was out campaigning and shaking hands, the fire department was on security and the high school choir was selling CDs. I mean, what was the last concert you were at where you could buy snickerdoodles for charity? Plus there were 2 different radio stations there, throwing out t-shirts and giving away prizes. It was a hoot. My friend Ron's band One Louder was the opening band, and though it was weird to see them performing in the light of day it was cool that they were opening for frickin' Foreigner! Look, there's our boy: you look rock and roll, baby! I was so proud of him and the whole band; they previewed 4 songs from their first CD, out hopefully in the fall and did a good job of getting the crowd primed. After the sun was down, Foreigner came on. They were awesome. Foreigner is one of those bands that you don't really realize how many hits they had until they start playing and you know the words to every single song. Lou Gramm hasn't been with the band for a long time, but founder Mick Jones was in the house. I appreciate that he doesn't dye his hair or try to look any younger than he really is, but let me tell you, despite the years -or perhaps because of them- that guy plays a mean guitar. He was excellent and as vibrant as any of his younger bandmates. The lead singer - Kelly Hansen - has a vocal quality that is similar enough to Gramm that the songs sound familiar, but he is talented enough to give them his own interpretation (and completely besides the point, he looks like Alice Cooper). The band played 2 songs from their current CD -the first new Foreigner release in 15 years- including a power ballad that i am hoping will bring back the luscious (and mostly random) pop-rock saxophone: i'm such a child of the 80s Most of the set, however, was comprised of past hits too numerous for me to even remember; off of the top of my head they played: Urgent, Double Vision, Cold as Ice, Jukebox Hero, Dirty White Boy, Feels Like the First Time, Hot Blooded, Head Games, That Was Yesterday, Say You Will and Waiting For a Girl Like You. The only song i didn't recognize/know by heart/hear on the radio was a song -Starrider- from their very first album, which was one of the first songs Mick ever wrote for band. Foreigner supports VH1's Save the Music campaign and donated $1000 to the local high school's music department; plus, they brought the concert choir up on stage to be the chorus for I Want to Know What Love Is: Though my BFF has had an unreasonable hatred of this song since it was #1 on the pop charts 25 years ago, I love it and it was really moving to see the local kids singing it on stage. Good venue, good bands, good times. Congrats to Ron!