Foreigner and Cheap Trick, The Greek Theatre, August 30, 2017
Every summer, The Greek Theatre has been the perfect venue to visit for all types of live music and entertainment. Situated within the vast regions of Griffith Park in Los Angeles, The Greek Theatre presents concerts under the stars, and is a required destination for all types of music fans seeking out a truly epic night to remember. On one such evening in late August, The Greek Theatre and Live Nation proudly presented the co-headlining classic rock acts Foreigner and Cheap Trick! The entire day had been sizzling hot with the mercury hitting over 100 degrees, but once the sun went down, the oncoming night would turn into one of comfort and intrigue – and this would include a surprise rainstorm right in the middle of Foreigner’s set!
And what a treat it was earlier on to witness the very talented Echo Community Arts Choir opening the show in song and celebration – and then reappear later to join Foreigner on a tremendously moving rendition of I Want To Know What Love Is. Foreigner has always been a supporter of the arts in schools all across the country in terms of generous donations, and has featured a youth choir at each and every stop to perform the world famous chart topping hit single.
Back to the start of the show however, where the Echo Community Arts Choir thoroughly enchanted the early arrivals with three wonderful songs – including two covers and one inspiring original selection! With many standout vocalists within the choir, there is no doubt the Greek early arrivals wer witnessing several future stars on the stage!
The legendary Cheap Trick took to the stage with the wickedly infectious refrains of Hello There, instantly captivating the Greek Theatre attendees with fan favorites as well as a few new songs. On tour in support of We’re All Right! – their 18th studio magnum opus, Cheap Trick treated the crowd to You Got It Goin’ On and Long Time Coming – two standout selections from the new album which compared exceeding well to the classics everyone knows and loves. And speaking of those very great Cheap Trick tunes – songs such as Heaven Tonight, The Flame, and I Want You To Want Me emitted from the stage with a glorious amount of energy and enthusiasm – receiving many standing ovations from the crowd.
Robin Zander’s trademark vocals soared into the stratosphere and beyond, while Rick Nielsen’s stunning axe work, imaginative clothes, and impressive guitar collection were all display in a vast and epic way! Tom Peterson supplied a pulsating low end on bass and even unleashed a brilliant lead vocal when Cheap Trick covered The Velvet Underground’s Waiting For My Man. And Rick’s son Daxx Nielsen brought it all home with an almighty sense of style and flair. Earlier in the evening, Rick Nielsen playfully pointed out Scott Ian, guitarist extraordinaire for Anthrax, in the audience. It would not be long before Ian was invited onstage, joining Cheap Trick in thunderous renditions of Surrender and Auf Wiesersehen. The set would end way too soon with Cheap Trick bidding a hard driving Goodnight to their fans. It was a grand slam performance to be sure, from a band that can still rock and roll your world!
Not many bands would want to follow a Cheap Trick show amped up to 10, but the mighty Foreigner was more than up to the challenge. Now on their landmark 40th Anniversary Tour, Foreigner made their way to the iconic Greek Theater and proceeded to enrapture the audience with all of the super hits! Opening with the rollicking Double Vision and then landing into a rock solid rendition of Head Games, Foreigner had the audience singing along to these opening selections, as well as to the many other Foreigner favorite to come! During Blue Morning, Blue Day, the heavens suddenly opened, dispensing a light and refreshing rain upon the Greek attendees. The unexpected shower would continue through the wildly rambunctious refrains of Dirty White Boy.
The esteemed Mick Jones remains the sole original member of the live Foreigner extravaganza, and he displayed a grand amount of energy and expertise, whether on the guitar for the many fan favorites or delivering keyboard interludes on songs such as Cold As Ice. It was terrific seeing Mr. Jones still having a blast in celebration of 40 years and counting. In addition to founding member Mick Jones, the Foreigner 2017 membership is absolutely on fire, continuing their vast legacy with a dazzling amount of passion and conviction. Kelly Hansen is a dynamically charismatic front man, bringing the familiar words to a powerful ultra-vivid life. The former vocalist of Hurricane and Unruly Child absolutely connects and excels with the Foreigner material. Within the Foreigner modern day army is the one and only Jeff Pilson on bass, best known for his impressive tenure with Dokken and Dio. The supreme talents of longtime member Thom Gimbel on rhythm guitar, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, Bruce Watson on rhythm and lead guitar, and Chris Frazier on drums also left a exhilarating impression on the audience.
With the aforementioned I Want To Know What Love Is and the scorching Hot Blooded closing out the night, Foreigner had presented a treasure trove of auditory memories that truly stand the test of time! Another night of vibrant memories at The Greek, brought to you by the folks at Live Nation!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)