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)



  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


  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


  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


GALLERIES (Joan Jett not photographed)


Dreamcar Gallery & Review – 5/27/17 The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL.


5/27/17 – The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL.

By Bradley Todd 

            I am giddy. The kind of giddy you feel when you meet somebody new and feel an immediate attraction. The way you feel when you talk to a new love interest for the first time and sense sparks of chemistry in your conversation. The kind of giddy you feel with long winded conversations with no lulls, but also lengthy eye contact without any words spoken. Holding hands…a first kiss…and beyond. All of it.

The object of my affections? Dreamcar.

It was only a few weeks ago when I had fallen asleep with the TV on, only to be awoken by a musical performance on the Late Late Show (w/ James Corden) by a band I didn’t know, but was immediately moved by… while wiping the sleep from my eyes. The song had an emotional urgency to it. The vibrant band bounced and rocked, breathing the vibe of the song. I only heard half the song (Kill for Candy)…but that was enough.

I bought Dreamcar’s new, self-titled album, their first, upon waking the next morning. And I have enjoyed the hell out of it since. 12 tracks – all killer, no filler. It brings me to the emotional space that has been filled in the past by great bands such as Duran Duran, The Smiths, The Cure, Psychedelic Furs…and more recently, The Killers.

Despite being a debut album from a new band, Dreamcar are anything but rookies in the music game. The band is comprised the members of No Doubt, minus Gwen, with singer Davey Havok from band AFI. And in Davey, Tom Dumont (guitar), Adrian Young (drums), and Tony Kanal (bass) have found the perfect person for this new musical venture, as was obvious at Chicago’s The Vic Theatre on May 27th, the final stop of the band’s recent tour.

While the group is new, the presentation and performance is well honed and tight, the chemistry undeniable. Despite playing the intimate Vic Theatre, the band brought a full production of sound and stage, including a keys player and two background singers to round out the sound…and it paid off in the performance. The band played every song from their debut album perfectly, albeit in a different running order, as well as David Bowie and INXS covers, ultimately closing with their single that hooked me in, Kill For Candy (full setlist below).

While Tom, Adrian and Tony laid down grooves that propelled this show with energy and enthusiasm, Davey Havok was the emotional face of this performance. I don’t know much about Davey Havok, other than the fact that he just might be my new favorite singer. A strong baritone, Havok presented with style reminiscent of the 40’s, wearing a gray suit and monochrome rust red shirt and skinny tie, along with a retro, mop top hairstyle and pencil thin moustache. But style aside, this dude can sing. His vocal performance was strong and flawless. And Havok doesn’t just sing songs, he delivers them dramatically, acting out the emotions of each line skillfully and with sincerity…to the point that I was unsure if I was watching a singer in an actor’s body, or vice versa. When he looked a crowd member in the face during the song Do Nothing and sang “You do nothing for me…” he paused for dramatic effect before repeating “Nothing!” And I believed him. 

            One other thing I must mention that contributed to my enjoyment of this fantastic show: the sound mix. It was straight up stellar. I can’t recall ever hearing better sound at any concert, at any other venue. Each instrument was crisp and clear, and each vocal – lead, as well as background – front and center with out any distortion…so kudos to you, Mr. Soundman!


  1. After I Confessed
  2. The Assailant
  3. Born to Lie
  4. Slip On the Moon
  5. The Preferred
  6. Moonage Daydream
  7. On the Charts
  8. Do Nothing
  9. Ever Lonely
  10. Don’t Let Me Love
  11. All the Dead Girls
  12. Don’t Change
  13. Show Me Mercy
  14. Kill for Candy

Cheap Trick – Concert Review & Gallery – 7/19/16 Northerly Island, Chicago, IL.

Cheap Trick is out on the road this summer as part of the “Rock Hall Three For All” tour featuring their fellow Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Joan Jett and Heart, and made a stop in in their hometown (well… their 2nd hometown, after Rockford, IL.) Chicago on 7/19/16 at Northerly Island. This was the 4th stop on a tour which is currently scheduled to the beginning of October.

Cheap Trick - 7/19/16 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.

The band is out in support of their wonderful new album (w/ the odd title), “Bang, Zoom Crazy…Hello,” which rocks from the opening to the closing note, and is also notable as the group’s first album with Daxx Nielsen, guitarist Rick Nielsen’s son, on drums.

Cheap Trick - 7/19/16 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.

While Cheap Trick is opening the shows on this tour, don’t be fooled because they are headliners who just happen to be playing first (my guess is that they were added to the tour after the Heart/Joan Jett lineup was already set). They pack their hour long set with hits and new songs, and switch up the setlist from night to night, showing the depth of their catalog.

Cheap Trick - 7/19/16 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.

Daxx Nielsen brings a great energy to the group, and Tom Petersson always lays down a solid base to the rhythm section with his 12 string bass. Rick Nielsen is the master of ceremonies with his distinctive guitar work, quirky presence and personality. And Robin Zander is simply a freak of nature the way his voice has retained its range and tone decades after he began his long run fronting one of America’s rock ‘n’ roll treasures.

Cheap Trick - 7/19/16 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.

Cheap Trick still wants you to want them, and with their new album they are showing they are still worthy of our desire.

Set List Below:

Heart – Concert Photo gallery – 7/19/16 Northerly Island, Chicago, IL.

Heart have set out a summer tour with two of their fellow Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick, called “Rock Hall Three For All,” with the 4th stop on the tour in Chicago at the Northerly Island venue on 7/19/16. Dates for the tour are currently scheduled to early October.

Heart - July 19, 2016 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.Heart - July 19, 2016 Northerly Island - Chicago, IL.

The tour is in support of the group’s new album, Beautiful Broken, mixing old classics with new music. was on hand for the proceedings and brings this photo gallery to show readers what the party looked like.

Set List:

  1. Encore:

  2. Love Hurts (w/ Cheap Trick)

Heart news and info can be found at their website at: , as well as their social media accounts.