Styx alive, well and in awesome form
Flown In by Eagle Rock Entertainment and drop shipped to Brian McGowan, for release 9 Sept 2016
You would think that performing songs that you wrote and recorded 40 years ago would be a surreal experience. Not for Styx. Admittedly, not everything here is in that category. But the bulk of this new DVD – recorded in Las Vegas in summer 2014 – comes from the last century. Styx enjoyed a lengthy purple patch of popularity from 1977 to 1981. They released four consecutive multi platinum albums during that period, fertile ground from which to harvest a live album’s worth of memorable music.
It begins where all good gigs begin, in the years of the breakthrough albums, and 1981 was the year of the triple platinum concept album, Paradise Theatre. And such is the wild enthusiasm of this Las Vegas audience, that by the dying notes of ‘Too Much Time On My Hands’, the second single and Billboard Top Ten hit, they are already in the palm of Tommy Shaw’s hand, joining in, annexing the chorus like it was a former Russian state.
That opening song reminds you that the key to the band’s enduring music, and indeed their untiring ability to perform it live like they mean it, was undoubtedly the sheer variety of styles they presented throughout those four albums and a dozen more. From the stripped down, hard rock of ‘Rockin The Paradise’ and ‘Blue Collar Man’ (helped out by Don Felder) to ‘Fooling Yourself’s sweet, soft rock harmonies, to ‘Light Up’s proggy overtones, they all sound the same only different. And on this album, they all have the “right here, right now” quality of the best live stuff.
It may seem an obvious thing to say, but the whole band – Tommy Shaw, James Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Philips – are in awesome form. In an era where much of rock’n’roll has devolved into a digitized, flatpacked, pro-tooled, auto-tuned consumer product, it is a genuine delight to see and hear a great rock band perform a perfectly chosen repertoire, full of emotion, imagery and sharp sonic arrangements.
A Styx gig nowadays is precision engineered, from the expertly choreographed stage presentation to the spectacular video screen backing. The band’s unsung audio engineer, Terry Loizzo has again handled the sound recording and mixing. This guy is a genius. I hope they pay him well.
Bonus material comes in the form of band interviews and previously unseen photos.
8 out of 10
- Too Much Time On My hands
- Fooling Yourself
- Light Up
- Crystal Ball
- Blue Collar Man (Long Nights – feat Don Felder)
- Rockin’The Paradise
- Genki Desu Ka (credits)