On August 3oth two classic rock bands touched down at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to celebrate their 40th Anniversaries.
Hitmakers Foreigner and FM radio staples Cheap Trick both released their debut albums in early 1977. Foreigner quickly became a multiplatinum selling band while Cheap Trick went onto influence many of today’s biggest acts such as the Foo Fighters. On Wednesday night Cheap Trick hit the stage with a vengeance to promote their just released 18th studio album “We’re All Alright.” They opened by hammering the capacity crowd with four classic tunes: “Hello There,” “Big Eyes,” “California Man” and “On Top Of The World.” Next up were two new songs “Long Time Coming” and “You Got It Going On.” These tracks blended seamlessly and the band rocked so hard on these tunes that the audience didn’t even have time to think about heading to the bathroom or concession stand.
The band continued to rock through their 90 minutes set which eventually added in all the big hits and fan favorites like “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police,” “Surrender” and “The Flame.” As a bonus treat guitarist Rick Nielsen pulled Anthrax member Scott Ian up on stage to jam on the band last three songs of the night. Kudos to drummer Daxx Nielsen (Rick’s son) who has been holding down the backbeat with wild abandon since 2010. Daxx’s youthful exuberance definitely brings out the best in Rick, Robin and Tom.
Next up was the headlining act called Foreigner! The current line-up of the band could easily be called “Fauxeigner” because of the 7 members on stage only 1 is an original member and his name is Mick Jones. Jones founded the band and with former lead singer Lou Gramm and the two wrote an amazing run of top 10 hits. So who are these other members? It doesn’t really matter who they are all you have to know is that they are performing the hits of Foreigner as good or better than they have ever been played. On lead vocals since 2004 is Kelly Hanson. Hanson is the man of the hour as he keeps the whole show fast and fun. Hanson has a great rapport with the audience and is able to engage with everyone from the first row to the last row. Vocally he doesn’t try to imitate Lou Gramm and yet Hanson’s voice sounds so close that if you closed your eyes you would swear it was the 70’s all over again.
The rest of the band is rounded out by top players including bassist Jeff Pilson and longtime member Thom Gimbel who handles guitar duties as well as saxophone. Gimbel shines brightest during the legendary sax solo from the band’s top 5 hit “Urgent.”
Foreigner’s set list consisted of only 12 songs which seems like a short list for the headliners but every song was a hit! The crowd was on their feet and singing for their entire set. Both bands gave the sold out crowd exactly what they came for… classic rock and roll songs performed at the highest level. Throw in some fun and you’ve got the perfect night under the stars.
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Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.