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)