The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Foreigner Concert Review, Austin, TX, April 21, 2016

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Let’s briefly go back in time…

I guess it was on the “4” tour for Foreigner that my oldest brother, Mark, went to the show (Norfolk Scope 1981?).  He was a pretty big fan of the band and I think most people probably liked some of their stuff.  In the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s you couldn’t get away from them.  I liked them enough.  Urgent is a great song.  Beyond I Want To Know What Love Is, I pretty much like all of their hits.  And for many of us musicians, Jukebox Hero has a lot of meaning.

Flash forward to today.  Foreigner still tours…a lot.  But wait.  Who’s in the band?  Lou Gramm is long gone.  But Mick Jones is still on guitar, right?  Nope.  Who’s left from the original lineup?  No one.  NO ONE.  Mick has had some major health problems in recent years and can’t tour.  He did an acoustic TV appearance with the band a couple of months ago and looked pretty frail on that.  So what we had last night was the most solid Foreigner cover band you could ever see and I was aware of that fact when I bought the VIP/meet and greet pass.

I’ve got a few friends that call me crazy for doing that with bands, but there’s usually a mission behind it and that’s to get certain musicians in The Book.  With Foreigner, two of the guys were in 80s metal bands that I liked and actually have a little personal history with one of them.

Typically on these things it’s just a small group of folks but last night they had nearly 100 people buy the VIP.  It’s also usually known up front if personal autographs would be allowed.  Nothing noted during the purchase about that.  This was not a cheap purchase by any means.  We’re not talking KISS prices by any stretch of the imagination, but not chump change either.  I was there on a mission.  This one didn’t state either way so I went for it.  As they’re explaining the process, the girl mentioned “no personal autographs”.  Everything puckered up quickly.  She walked through the line to see if folks had questions and when she got to me, she got an earful.  Respectfully of course.   I showed her The Book and explained to her blah blah blah.  She leaned in to me and said, “I’ll do my best to make it happen.  Just hang tight and maybe drop back in line a little.”  OK.

So we’re going through the backstage area of the awesome Moody Theater and I’m noticing that only 2-3 other people had something extra with them.  It was almost my turn to meet the band and she comes up to me and says, “It’s happening.  Do the picture then just hang out over there with Bill (another manager) until everyone goes through.”  I hugged her.

As I got up to the band to shake their hands, Jeff Pilson (Dokken et als) was first.  I mentioned I was a huge early Dokken fan and said, “Me too!”  When I spoke to Kelley Hansen (Hurricane), I mentioned our history. “What did I do?”  I mentioned him contacting me around 2001 when I was selling a promo only Hurricane picture disc that he apparently had never seen and didn’t own.  We had worked out a trade.  “That was you?!  I still have that thing and still haven’t seen another!”  A couple of quick photos and I was shuffled off to Bill who says, “Leave the book here and I’ll bring it to you after they sign it.”  ummm…What?  No, sir.  Sorry, that book doesn’t leave my sight.  Allison heard our exchange and said, “He’s fine, Bill.”

As I’m waiting for the last 20 or so folks to do their thing with the band, I see Joey Kramer from Aerosmith walk in with a small entourage.  HOLY SHIT.  Joey Kramer.  He lives locally and is out and about often but this was my first encounter.  He walks by me and I just say, “Hey Joey, how’s it going.  Got a moment to sign something?”  “Sure, man.  Whatcha got?”  I flip The Book open to the Aerosmith page, he asked my name and signed it.  I mentioned how much his playing blew me away the 3 or 4 times I had seen them since the 80s.  “Best American rock drum shuffle ever”, I said.  “Thanks, Sean.  Nice to meet you.”  To be honest, I got a little star struck.  I’ve met a lot of bands over the years, but for whatever reason, maybe the surprise of seeing him, got me all worked up for a moment.  That made the price of admission completely worth it.

After the crowd got through the line, Kelley came over and signed the book, shook my hand and moved on.  Pilson came over and we chatted for a few minutes.  Told him I saw Dokken/Aerosmith in 89.  He asked who was better and I said, “We were mainly there to see Dokken.”  He seems like a pretty laid back guy.

I ran my stuff back to my truck quickly and went back in.  I was front row, just off center.  The show started at 815PM and they were slated to only play 13 songs.  Just the hits and nothing more.  I’ll say this, they were fantastic.  Everyone in that band is a solid professional, it’s just unfortunate that no original members are still playing in the band.  I heard a lot of complaints around me about Jones not being there.  It was a sold out show, too.  As stated earlier, I knew what to expect going it, but it was all worth it.  That said, I’ll never go see them again, even if Jones was able to come back.

I do want to give a hand to Kelley Hansen’s vocals and performance.  That guy’s voice was perfect.  He does, however, look a lot like Steven Tyler these days and is copping his moves pretty hard.  Some of his between song banter was annoying but he was also playing to the older crowd that was there.  At 46, I was one of the youngest in attendance.  As he was introducing the band, he stated that Jeff Pilson was a founding member of Dokken.  Part of me wanted to yell, “What about Juan Croucier?!”  haha.  He also mentioned that one of the guitarists had been assaulted the night before in downtown Austin.   The drummer was a beast, but I could have done without the drum solo.  They were slated to do Long, Long Way From Home in the encore but it got nixed for a little love fest tribute to Prince.  They had a local high school choir doing backing vocals in I Want to Know What Love Is and ended it with Hot Blooded.

Overall an enjoyable night.

 

Written by The Metal Files

April 22, 2016 at 10:03 am

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