Tuesday, June 5, 2001 Coors
Amphitheatre - San Diego, Ca Review by antiGUY
Bad Company & Billy Squier
I rarely will drive over a hundred miles
to see a concert but when our special features editor Debbie Seagle called
me late Monday afternoon and told me she had an extra ticket for Styx and
Bad Company the next night, I jumped at the chance. You see, I’ve always
been a huge classic rock
fan and the chance to see Paul Rodgers and Bad Company doesn’t come along
very often. As for Styx, I knew a bit about their history, could sing along
to most of the hits and could tell you Styx wasn’t just a river in Hades.
Apart from that, I must admit I’ve never owned a Styx album; as the progressive
arena rock of the 70’s of bands like Styx and Yes was never my thing. So
I went in with mild interest but came out with a new perspective of the
group and a genuine respect for them as showmen and musicians. Debbie was
at the show to cover Bad Company for a special Legends Feature and this
review wasn’t originally planned but after leaving the show that night
I knew I had to write something about it.
I got to Coors Amphitheatre just in time
to catch the end of Billy Squier’s set. I know there is a whole cottage
industry for bashing Squier; maybe that’s why he hasn’t toured in ten years?
He had a slew of hits in the early 80’s and a couple of multi-platinum
albums but there was always that negative undercurrent among the rock faithful
about Squier. Maybe it was his campy performances or his pink guitar or
perhaps it was the over the top pop hit “Stroke” that sent rockers running
for cover? Never the less, the crowd in San Diego seemed to welcome his
return to the stage as they cheered along to his performances of “Rock
Me Tonight” and “Everybody Wants You”. Say what ever you want about Billy,
the guy does know how to get right down and rock.
Next up was Bad Company. Talk about a legendary
rock band, Paul Rodgers took control of the audience from the first note
and didn’t let go for the entire performance. Bad Company has been a staple
since they released their debut album under Led Zeppelin’s vanity label
way back in June of 1974. To this day if you listen to classic rock radio
you are sure to hear one of many of their hit songs. I won’t spoil things
for Debbie as I’m sure she wants to give you all of the details of their
performance in her upcoming Legends feature but I will tell you after seeing
them live, it only solidified in my mind their position as legend’s and
I have to honestly say Paul Rodgers is one of most gifted vocalist to lend
his pipes to rock!
Styx burst onto the stage with a few bars
of Mr. Roboto, which brought the crowd to their feet, before breaking into
a letter-perfect rendition of “Blue Collar Man”. Tommy Shaw clearly showed
who was the spiritual leader of the group now that Dennis DeYoung is out
as he danced around stage with a huge all knowing grin on his face. Shaw
took every opportunity between the songs to talk to the cheering fans telling
stories about the band and encouraging them to pick up the new CD, STYXworld.
"JY" Young looked as if he was having the time of his life as the band
progressed through their greatest hits including Grand Illusion, Lorelei
and Lady. The biggest surprise was keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan
who was brought in to replace Dennis DeYoung in 1999. Gowan’s nails the
DeYoung vocals perfectly providing Styx with the best of both worlds, DeYoung’s
voice without DeYoung’s attitude. Gowan pounded away at the keyboards on
a circular platform that rotates 360 degrees, so he was able to serenade
the crowd on all sides. For those who don’t know the story, the group
discovered Gowan when he opened for them in Canada
in 1997. Virtually unknown in the U.S., Gowan had found major success in
his native Canada with 3 platinum and 4 gold records to his credit.
When the audience demanded two encores from Gowan, the band took notice
and when the time came to hit the road without DeYoung he was their choice
to fill the pivotal position. Judging by his performance in San Diego he
has more than risen to the challenge.
vocal duties were shared among Shaw, JY and Gowan for most of the night.
But Glen Burtnik surprised the crowd when he jumped from the stage, ran
to the middle of the amphitheatre and started singing “Love is the Ritual”,
the crowd went nuts but they were in for an even bigger surprise in a few
Tommy Shaw stood at the mic with a sinister
smile spread across his face and announced that they had a special surprise
for the crowd. “I’d like to bring out
one of the guys who started this band in a basement back in Chicago, Chuck
Panozzo!” Chuck took to the stage and the band broke into “Foolin Yourself”.
The hits just kept coming with “Miss America”, “Too Much Time on My Hands”
before they closed with an mesmerizing performance of “Come Sail Away”
complete with a wall of confetti exploding from the lighting rig at the
The crowd wasn’t going to let Styx call
it a night yet and the cheers and yells compelled the band to return to
the stage for an amazing encore performance of “Renegade”.
Styx has taken a lot of flack over the
years from the nay Sayers and critics, but after witnessing their show
live you have to respect these guys. At their height of popularity they
sold 4 consecutive triple-platinum albums;
a task that was unheard of in the 70’s let alone today. Sure Styx isn’t
for everybody but for those true believers who continue to fill arenas
and amphitheatres to see their musical heroes, it just doesn’t get any
The Official STYX web site
STYX music online and listen to sound samples
The Official Bad Company web site
Bad Company music online and listen to sound samples
Photos by Debbie Seagle. Copyright 2001 Groove
Quest Productions. May not be used without permission all rights reserved.