Review by: Ed Thompson
From the second the lights went down and Styx opened with Grand Illusion to the final note of Renegade, Styx had the Benedum in Pittsburgh PA “electrified”. It was also Steeler’s great Kevin Green’s hall of fame ring ceremony’s eve and mush like his playing days here in Pittsburgh was buzzing through the crowd all night. However, the electricity in the night had nothing to do with the Steelers, Kevin Green or him getting his hall of fame ring the following night. Styx was 100% responsible.
Grand Illusion was an incredible song to kick the night off with and truly set the tone for the night. Heading right into the Paradise Theatre hit “Too Much Time On My Hands” was a great second song that kept the crowd buzzing. Honestly, I can say the same for every song the band chose for the Saturday set list. The list kept you wanting more and wishing the night would never end. Tommy Shaw is the “key element” of the Styx Machine followed closely by James Young and fellow founding member Chuck Panozzo when he has the time to tour and record. Tommy ran through the songs that he’s lead on. They ran through all the fan favorites like Fooling Yourself, Light Up, Crystal Ball and Blue Collar Man. All the songs were powerful and moving, to say the least. The nice thing about Styx is they have the different tempo songs fronted by James Young like Miss America, Snow Blind, and Lorelei. Like Shaw, Young hasn’t lost too much vocally over the years. Actually, his voice has deepened and shines, even more, these days on Snowblind with Shaw. The same can be said about Miss America.
One of the highlights of the night was Shaw’s vocals and performance on Man In The Wilderness. He had the crowd believing it was 1977 all over again. His vocals, along with stage presence truly did give it a feel of 1977 again. Like many of the other songs of the night, it was a moving moment hearing this song live. One I’m glad I got to hear and see.
Founding member Chuck Panozzo did make a guest appearance and it’s always great to see him on stage. Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips never missed a note. Ricky was all over the stage played well with the crowd. Todd? Well, Todd is Todd. One of the best and most solid in the business. Never misses a beat and is ALWAYS string and leading the band with the beats.
For the first time that I’ve seen, Lawrence Gowan had free reign of the stage and the songs he covers that were once sung by Dennis DeYoung. He shined on Lady early in the set list and brought the crowd to their feet screaming for more on Pieces of Eight. Quite honestly, it was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. He nailed every single note. And earned the standing ovation he received. Gowan ran through the rest of his leads that brought him to the long but incredible lead into Come Sail Away. He touched on Ground Control to Major Tom by David Bowie, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and finally Rocket Man by Sir Elton before belting out into Come Sail Away. It was a neat lead into the ending of the night’s regular set list.
They came back out for two show-stopping hits in Rockin’ The Paradise and the infamous Pittsburgh favorite “Renegade” that was a fitting end to the night that recognized Steeler great Kevin Greene. Gowan’s and Shaw’s vocal’s on both the encores sounded like it was their first song of the night. The night closed with the band staying much longer than usual to thank the capacity crowd in Pittsburgh.
Styx along with Kevin Greene’s wife sang the national anthem at Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steeler game that was nationally televised.
ALL PHOTOS HyXposure Sports Photography © 2016