Concert Review: Styx at the Benedum

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

STYX performing in Pittsburgh 10/1 at The Benedum

Legendary and multi-Platinum rockers STYX–Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass), along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo—are back on the road for their 2016 tour.

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They’re performing in Pittsburgh on Saturday, October 1 at the Benedum Theatre.

STYX with very special guest star DON FELDER—formerly of the Eagles–will take the Las Vegas stage for an unforgettable five-night limited engagement at The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian Las Vegas. The show, “Styx & Don Felder: Renegades In The Fast Lane,” will be held on January 6, 7, 11, 13 and 14, 2017. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. PT atwww.Venetian.com/StyxFelder. Check out a trailer for this very special engagement below.

 

On September 2, Eagle Rock Entertainment released STYX: LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS via DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Formats. Filmed in high definition, it captures the band performing in July 2014, showering the crowd with a set list of hits and fan favorites: “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Renegade,” and more. It was previously released on CD in June 2015. The concert highlights the musical dexterity of the band, which is further boosted by a special surprise visit from a former Eagles guitarist –Don Felder–for a rousing performance of “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).” To heighten the live STYXexperience, STYX: LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS is punctuated with band / crew member interviews, detailing life on the road. Bonus features include the entire concert sans the interview footage, bonus interview footage, and a photo gallery.

 

On July 24, 2015, Eagle Rock Entertainment released LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS on CD and Digital Formats. Recorded on July 25, 2014, LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS is a sonic showcase of STYX’s live prowess and razor-sharp musicianship. This show features a set list packed with hit songs, classic tracks, and fan favorites, including “Lady,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Rockin’ The Paradise,” “Come Sail Away,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Renegade,” and “Suite Madame Blue.” The evening also held a special surprise when Don Felder – a former Eagles guitarist – took the stage to join the band on “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).”

 

On January 31, 2012, Eagle Rock Entertainment released Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live on DVD, Blu-Ray, and DVD/2CD.  This show was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, on the tour that saw them perform both these albums in their entirety for the first time.  The 20-song, two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo.  The staging of these two multi-platinum albums and the fevered response makes this concert a must for all STYX fans. Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live also includes the bonus feature “Putting On The Show,” an inside look at the people and equipment needed to stage such a massive spectacle.  On May 7, 2013, Eagle Rock Entertainment released the entire concert as a 2CD set entitled The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live.

 

STYX also released their double-disc REGENERATION, VOLUME I & II on October 24, 2012 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.  In addition to thirteen STYX classics and a brand new song, “Difference In The World,” the collection also includes interpretations of “High Enough,” and “Coming Of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees, which featured Tommy Shaw, along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, Ted Nugent and drummer Michael Cartellone.  The band had originally re-recorded these acclaimed anthems to sell only at their live shows, as they continued to tour the globe and introduce a new generation of fans to their chart-topping hits.  Now, for the first time, this music has been made commercially available.

 

At each tour stop, Rock to the Rescue—spearheaded by Tommy Shaw’s daughter, Hannah and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by the band, whose mission is to build strong, healthy communities through the support of grassroots organizations across the country–researches local nonprofit organizations and picks one to see if they are interested in volunteering to help the band sell $10 tickets for a drawing to win a signed STYX guitar at the shows.  They give these organizations a percentage of the sales as their way of supporting their cause and thanking them for supporting the band’s cause.

Rock To The Rescue was founded on the principle that our communities are stronger when we work together in mutual aid.  Having played thousands of shows in the last 15 years, STYX has been strongly connected with communities across the country. With local fans and community members making an effort to join in support of STYX, it is important to the band to actively participate in these communities as well. What makes Rock to the Rescue unique is that they work on a grassroots level with small groups, giving real support to real individuals who are creating positive changes in their communities. Rock to the Rescue is building initiatives in the areas of music education, health and well-being, disaster relief and aid, and animal welfare and rescue.

Rock to the Rescue originally started in 2001 as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is the brainchild of STYX singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw and REO Speedwagon singer/keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Cronin.  The two musicians brought together bands and artists such as Bad Company, Journey, Survivor, Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others to be part of “Volunteers For America” concert events in Dallas and Atlanta that ultimately raised over $775,000 for victims of 9/11, as well as the Port Authority police department in New York City.

 

In 2014, Rock To The Rescue raised $10,000 for the Philadelphia Fire Department Local #22 Widows Fund at the “Soundtrack of Summer” show (with Foreigner and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder) in Camden, NJ on July 3, as a thank you to the local fire department for cooling down STYX’s burning crew bus the day before.  And in 2013, Rock To The Rescue hosted a sold-out concert with STYX, REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, Survivor, Richard Marx and Larry The Cable Guy, in Bloomington, IL at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum that raised $450,000 for victims of the horrible storms in Illinois.  Also in 2013, Rock To The Rescue presented the Boston One Fund with a check for $108,000 for victims of the Boston marathon bombings as a result of funds raised during the “The Midwest Rock ‘N Roll Express” tour with STYX, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent.

 

On November 19, 2015, Rock To The Rescue donated $25,000 to The Sweet Stuff Foundation to help victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. In honor of the musicians and crew who lost their lives in the attack at The Bataclan music venue in Paris where Eagles of Death Metal were performing, from that date through December 31, 2015, Sweet Stuff dedicated all money received directly to the surviving families of those who passed away, including that of the band’s merchandise manager, Nick Alexander. The Sweet Stuff Foundation was founded by Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, who is also a key recording member of Eagles of Death Metal.

“Styx & Don Felder: Renegades In The Fast Lane” trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j0-78ZDxGw

 

Making of “Styx:  The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live” DVD

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPwS0u90Ug&feature=player_embedded

Highlights from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8s0VSH7pmw&feature=youtu.be

 

“Foolin’ Yourself” from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xww6zn_styx-fooling-yourself-from-the-grand-illusion-pieces-of-eight-live_music

 

“Blue Collar Man” from “The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight – Live” DVD & Blu-Ray:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwyoh2_styx-blue-collar-man-from-the-grand-illusion-pieces-of-eight-live-dvd-blu-ray-cd_music

VH1 “Behind The Music Remastered” full episode (aired January 2012):

http://www.vh1.com/video/behind-the-music-remastered/full-episodes/behind-the-music-remastered-styx/1677385/playlist.jhtml

www.styxworld.com