If this is how 2017 is starting out, then we are going to be very lucky and have a great year of music here in the valley. On Sunday night, the 70s rock group Styx came back to the Talking Stick Resort Ballroom to play their greatest hits to a packed venue and they did not disappoint their fans. From the very start of the show, the band came out rocking with one of their biggest hits, “Grand Illusion” to get the crowd on their feet and rocking. The show consisted of greatest hits from their platinum albums, Grand Illusion, Pieces of Eight and Paradise Theatre with a mixture of other hits.
The band’s current lineup consists of James “JY” Young (lead vocals, guitars) and Tommy Shaw (lead vocals, guitars) from the late 70s lineup. They have been joined by Todd Sucherman (drums), Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals, keyboards) and Ricky Phillips (bass, guitars, vocals). We were also lucky enough to have the bands original bassist, Chuck Panozzo join them for a few songs.
The majority of the lead vocals was done by either Lawrence or Tommy. Lawrence was more dynamic as he danced around the stage, while Tommy was more restricted to a mic stand since he was also playing guitar. On almost every song at least 2 or more of the guitarist/bassists would jam together, smiling and having a good time. From Tommy solo performance of “Hallelujah Chorus” to the entire band performing “Fooling Yourself”, “Come Sail Away” and “Renegade”, the crowd was in heaven. For almost the entire show the audience was on their feet and singing along with the band.
A lot of people might say that this was the same show as last year, but who cares! If it works and the audience loves it, then let it go. The audience came to see Styx and them doing their greatest hits and that is just what they got. The great thing about this band is that they looked like they really enjoyed performing. Throughout the entire show they were smiling and making eye contact with audience. I saw Styx last year and that show was great, but I believe this show was even better. The band looked fresh and energetic and really wanted the audience to enjoy the show. Most bands just walk off stage once the show is over, but all of the members of the band came down to the front of the stage and shook hands with the audience and handed out guitar picks for over 2 minutes.
I would also like to commend Styx and the Talking Stick Resort for the outstanding light setup for the show. This was one of the few shows I have covered recently that had amazing lighting. The stage and each of the band members was brightly lit, including the drummer. It was a photographers and an audience members dream, we could see each member of the band perfectly. It seemed the band did not mind the lights, they were constantly smiling and making eye contact with the crowd. More venues and bands need to realize that the audience is there to see the band and good lighting is a must. The sound was also a perfect mix of instruments and vocals. No matter where you sat, you had no problem hearing the band.
So, what should you expect when you see Styx perform? Great music, amazing lighting, perfect mix of sound and a band that really enjoys performing. What more could a fan want! This is why we go see a band live, if all we wanted to do was hear the music, then iTunes or mp3 would suffice.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Ballroom
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
Grand Illusion (Grand Illusion)
Too Much Time (Paradise Theatre)
Fooling Yourself (Grand Illusion)
Lady (Styx II)
Light Up (Equinox)
Man In The Wilderness (Grand Illusion)
Miss America (Grand Illusion)
Hallelujah Chorus (The Serpent is Rising)
Crystal Ball (Crystal Ball)
I am the Walrus (Big Bang Theory, Beatles cover)
Blue Collar Man (Pieces of Eight)
Come Sail Away (Grand Illusion)
Rockin’ The Paradise (Paradise Theatre)
Renegade (Pieces of Eight)