Review: Styx, Joan Jett & Tesla Live – 7/7/18 at Huntington Bank Pavilion, Chicago, IL.

Wow, Styx…that was awesome! Perhaps that’s not a Pulitzer Prize worthy lead for a concert write-up, but it’s honest since that’s what I’m still feeling 72 hours after seeing Styx last weekend.

The band is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, along with other 70’s/80’s classic rock acts, who have mixed newer players with original members…and sometimes not even any original members, like with Foreigner on nights where sole original member, Mick Jones, doesn’t play…to keep the magic of their tunes from their heyday alive. The band has toured pretty extensively the past few years, often with similar acts, and fans are coming out in good numbers to fill mid-size sheds during the summer tours like they did on July 7th in Chicago at Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island.

Styx 7/7/18, Chicago, IL. (photo by Bradley Todd)

The fans that came out were given a real treat of sight and sound, which still has me jazzed a couple days afterwards. Business must be good judging from the size and quality of the production Styx brought with them to the Windy City…a big sprawling stage with steps and catwalks, a giant video screen that served as a backdrop displaying past album covers and other imagery depending on the song being played, tons of speakers in front of the stage, and enough colorful lighting to make it look as though a fleet of UFOs was landing on the lakefront venue.

Armed with a catalog of classic songs, Styx played hit after hit with power, precision and melodic grace (see full setlist below). Songs like Grand Illusion, Rockin’ the Paradise, Come Sail Away and Renegade sounded fresh and vibrant, propelled by drummer Todd Sucherman’s energetic finesse of a large kit featuring many toms, cymbals, and double bass that had the set rocking all night. Keyboards, guitars, and bass were also in abundance, played artfully by Lawrence Gowan (keys), Tommy Shaw (guitar), James Young (guitar), Ricky Phillips (bass), and Chuck Panozzo (bass on select songs).

Styx 7/7/18, Chicago, IL. (photo by Bradley Todd)

Styx 7/7/18, Chicago, IL. (photo by Bradley Todd)

But it wouldn’t be a Styx show without the lush multi-part harmonies the band is known for, and modern day Styx has that covered too. Tommy Shaw (whose vocals are still high, sweet, and spot on) and Lawrence Gowan lead the way, with the rest of the band, as well as the fans (!), following to make each song a sing-along affair for all.

Sprinkled in between the well-known hits were four songs from 2017’s concept album, the Mission. While many fans took the lesser known tunes as chance to sit for a moment or go get a drink, the fact is The Mission is an overlooked gem of catchy songs that simultaneously honor Styx’s history of prog rock and showy songs, but with a current sound and the current band’s vigor…. Radio Silence from the set being a perfect example.

Simply put, if you have any fondness for the music of Styx, their show is a must-see.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts are the middle act on this tour. Joan’s band is tight and great, and her keyboardist’s stories of of Joan’s early career, as well as his humor were appreciated. Her set was mainly of a punk rock flavor, but also included the hits Crimson & Clover, I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, and I Hate Myself for Loving you. Her performance was well received.

Tesla is the first opener for this tour. While Tesla’s set was short, it was sweet. The group’s straightforward, honest rock/hard rock does exactly what it is supposed to do…get the crowd warmed up and ready to rock. From singer Jeff Keith’s gritty vocals and wiry strut, to drummer Troy Luccketta’s hard hitting beats and fills, to Frank Hannon’s tasteful licks, leads and tones, Tesla’s songs have aged well with a timeless vibe.

Tesla 7/7/18, Chicago, IL. (photo by Bradley Todd)

Tesla 7/7/18, Chicago, IL. (photo by Bradley Todd)

-PHOTO GALLERIES BELOW SETLISTS-

STYX SETLIST:

  1. Overture
  2. Gone Gone Gone
  3. Blue Collar Man
  4. Grand Illusion
  5. Lady
  6. Light Up
  7. Rockin’ the Paradise
  8. Radio Silence
  9. Miss America
  10. The Outpost
  11. Fooling Yourself
  12. Too Much Time On My Hands
  13. Khedive
  14. Bohemian Rhapsody (Piano solo)
  15. Come Sail Away
  16. Mr. Roboto (encore)
  17. Renegade

JOAN JETT SETLIST:

  1. Bad Reputation
  2. Cherry Bomb
  3. Do You Wanna Touch Me
  4. Victim of Circumstance
  5. Soulmates to Strangers
  6. You Drive Me Wild
  7. Light of Day
  8. Fake Friends
  9. Love Is Pain
  10. TMI
  11. Fresh Start
  12. Love Is All Around
  13. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
  14. Crimson & Clover
  15. I Hate Myself For Loving You
  16. Everyday People

TESLA SETLIST:

  1. I Wanna Live
  2. Hang Tough
  3. Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
  4. What You Give
  5. Signs
  6. Love Song
  7. Little Suzi
  8. Modern Day Cowboy

-PHOTO GALLERIES BELOW-

www.styxworld.com

www.instagram.com/styxtheband

www.twitter.com/styxtheband

www.facebook.com/styx

www.joanjett.com

www.teslatheband.com

www.instagram.com/teslaband

www.twitter.com/teslaband

www.facebook.com/teslaband/

GALLERIES (Joan Jett not photographed)

 

Foreigner Concert Gallery – 4/7/18 Four Winds Casino – New Buffalo, MI.

Foreigner – April 7, 2018

Four Winds Casino – New Buffalo, MI.

Judas Priest Bring Firepower to Hammond, IN. – Gallery and Review

JUDAS PRIEST

4/6/18 – Horseshoe Casino – Hammond, IN.

By Bradley Todd 

            For fuck’s sake, how is it that Judas Priest is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame already? This is the thought that is running through my mind as the band launches into the fourth song of their set, Sinner, from 1976’s Sin After Sin album, at this Friday night show at Hammond, Indiana’s Horseshoe Casino, which is a Chicago venue for all intents and purposes.

All the ingredients for admission are there: the band has had incredible longevity – just about 50 years; they have a big, amazing catalog of music that includes iconic hit songs (Breaking The Law, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, Living After Midnight) that have stood the test of time and are known by even non-fans, and have sold millions of albums; they have influenced countless other hard rock and metal musicians with their musical and artistic style, which, by the way, has helped define an entire genre of music – Heavy Metal; oh, and they have one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal singers of all time…and that’s not hyperbole, just fact! So seriously, WTF?

Well, none of the above affects the proceedings in the heartland on a Friday night one bit, as Priest and their large crowd of followers have come to rock. And rock they do. The tour is in support of Judas Priest’s 18thstudio album, Firepower, and they show that they aren’t just resting on their laurels by playing three tracks from the new release. But the rest of the setlist (see full setlist below) serves as a career retrospective of sorts, including catalog deep cuts like the aforementioned Sinner, and Grinder, The Ripper, and Saints In Hell…in addition the to hits, of course. The only thing that bothered me about this set is that it completely ignores Priest’s last two albums, Angel of Retribution, and Redeemer of Souls. And this is a shame, for those albums are freakin’ great all the way through and, along with Firepower, are clear proof that Judas Priest is not an oldies act out on a money grab tour. But they didn’t consult me on the setlist!

The current touring version of the band has two original members in it: singer Rob Halford, and bass player Ian Hill. Original guitarist, Glenn Tipton, announced shortly before the tour started that he was bowing out of touring, due to the progression of symptoms of his Parkinson’s Disease. He has been replaced on the tour by the band’s album producer, Andy Sneap. The touring lineup is rounded out by drummer, Scott Travis, who, while not the original drummer, has been behind the kit for longer than any other Priest drummer (29 years), and guitarist, Richie “Falcon” Faulkner. Faulkner has been with the band several years now, coming on to replace the other original guitar player, K.K. Downing, who retired from service in 2011.

While it’s disappointing not to see Glenn Tipton up there performing (though he has made a couple appearances at a few previous shows on this tour playing a few songs, like he said he might), the proceedings don’t feel melancholy at all, but more like the Priest machine marching on in honor of the music. And the band does honor Tipton by featuring him on the giant video screen behind them. Andy Sneap does an admirable job of filling in for Tipton, playing solid rhythm but also getting some solo spots…about four or five, I think. It also seemed that the band has given Sneap a child’s size leather jacket to wear… but it doesn’t stop him from hitting all the right notes. The rest of the band runs like the well-oiled machine you would expect if you’ve seen them on any of their last couple tours.

While not the darling of the music industry the way it was in the 80’s, this heavy metal music of Judas Priest does not get old for me, nor for the rest of this crowd, who sing along, headbang, and play air guitar throughout the band’s set, which lasts about 1 hr. and 45 min. Travis is solid and steady on the drums, displaying flair, whipping hair, and a frequent smile. Ian Hill takes his familiar position back from the front of the stage, where he rocks from side to side, thundering his bass notes which occasionally shake the venue’s foundation like an earthquake. While I initially rolled my eyes at the announcement of a replacement for K.K. Downing, a few albums and tours later Richie Faulkner has really come into his own, winning the Priest faithful over. He’s energetic, photogenic, engaging, and most importantly, a blazing six-string gunslinger. If it wasn’t going to be K.K., Priest couldn’t have found a better replacement, and this is proven true as Faulkner is almost the most exciting thing going down on the stage this night.

But this night belongs to the Metal God, singer Rob Halford. It’s all been said about Rob before, but respect compels me to say it here again: the dude is unreal. Born with a gift of a truly searing metal voice, he’s been blessed with another gift of it lasting so long, as he’s now in his mid 60’s. He roams the stage, working the crowd up, blasting out notes and screams like the heavy metal ambassador he is. He is a treasure to this band, and I consider it a blessing to see/hear him. Do I sound like I’m gushing? Good, because I am. Metal God, indeed.

SETLIST   (** FULL GALLERY BELOW**)

  1. Firepower
  2. Running Wild
  3. Grinder
  4. Sinner
  5. The Ripper
  6. Bloodstone
  7. Lightning Strike
  8. Saints in Hell
  9. Turbo Lover
  10. The Green Manalishi
  11. Evil Never Dies
  12. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  13. Breaking The Law
  14. Hell Bent For Leather
  15. Painkiller
  16. Hellion/Electric Eye
  17. Metal Gods
  18. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
  19. Living After Midnight

Avenged Sevenfold Concert Gallery

Avenged Sevenfold Photo Gallery
The Stage World Tour
Peoria Civic Center
Peoria, Illinois
 

M. Shadows

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

M. Shadows

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold Fans

Fans of Avenged Sevenfold

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

M. Shadows

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Johnny Christ

Johnny Christ of Avenged Sevenfold

Brooks Wackerman

Brooks Wackerman of Avenged Sevenfold

Johnny Christ

Johnny Christ of Avenged Sevenfold

M. Shadows

M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Synyster Gates

Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold

                                

Greta Van Fleet Photo Gallery

Greta Van Fleet Photo Gallery
Nutcracker 2017
Limelight Eventplex
Peoria, Illinois
 

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Danny Wagner of Greta Van Fleet

Danny Wagnere of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

Greta Van Fleet

                                

The Struts Photo Gallery

The Struts Photo Gallery
State Farm Center
Champaign, Illinois
 

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Struts Adam Slack

The Struts Adam Slack

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts

 

Struts Luke Spiller

The Struts Luke Spiller

Sylar Photo Gallery

Sylar Photo Gallery
Vans Warped Tour
Tinley Park, Illinois