Review/Photos by Joseph Suto
Erie, PA - The Warner Theater came alive Friday night to the sounds of years past. Styx have joined the list of artists who are now performing entire albums in concert. Styx did this a little different than most however as they upped the ante and decided to play two albums in their entirety. The show started with 1977’s Grand Illusion , followed by the 1978 classic Pieces Of Eight.
These days Styx does not feature Dennis DeYoung, one of the band’s founders and main vocalists. Lawrence Gowan now handles the majority of the songs that Dennis sang and what an outstanding job he did. The band sounded as good as they ever have. The rhythm section of drummer Todd Sucherman and bassist Ricky Phillips were simply astonishing. Even original bassist Chuck Panozzo made an appearance and played on a half dozen songs.
Kicking things off with the Title cut off The Grand Illusion, the band proceded to play the album in its entirety note for note to give the album the feel of authenticity. Highlights from the Grand Illusion featured Superstars which had not been played live until this tour and a stirring rendition of Caste Walls.
After a brief intermission the band took the stage again and that’s where the show really took off. Pieces of Eight is perhaps Styx’s greatest studio album and the band pulled it off better than expected. I’m OK, a song that has not seen its way into a Styx set list in years sounded so fresh and inspiring. Sing For The Day featuring vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw gave Mr. Shaw a good vocal workout. The hits Blue Collar Man and Renegade received their customary response and ovation. But where I felt the band really shined was on the title cut. Pieces Of Eight featuring Gowan on vocals was the centerpiece of the album and it really was perhaps the best moment of the night.
The band them came back for I Am A Walrus which Gowan dedicated to John Lennon who would have been 70 if he was still alive. Closing out the show with Too Much Time On My Hands the band left the Erie, PA crowd more than satisfied. Perhaps Cornerstone and Paradise Theater will be done on some tour in the very near future?
Special thanks to Amanda Cagan at ABC Public Relations for allowing us to cover the show.