Styx (August 2008)

Date of Performance: August 28, 2008
Venue: On The Waterfront Festival, Davis Park, Rockfield, IL, US

While their heyday is long behind them, Styx continues to perform at a very high level.

This band has lost nothing to time or departures. Find me someone who says this band is washed up or nothing without Dennis De Young, and I'll show you someone who hasn't seen them live.

Lawrence Gowan is the ideal replacement for De Young.

If there were a person who could fill those eccentric shoes, Gowan goes straight to the top of the list. He shakes his can and spins his keyboards much like Jordan Rudess. Plus, he sings in a manner that properly substitutes for the previous non-formulaic crooner.

In my opinion, Gowan was also the story of the night.

From where I sat, he was consistently spot-on. That alone makes him ideal. But what I like most about his contributions is that he neither tries to impersonate nor take ownership of these songs. He just does them as they were meant to be done without drawing an exorbitant amount of attention to himself.

Basically, he's a key member. He's nothing more; he's nothing less.

To be honest, the Styx brand constitutes a showcase of well-composed songs that have stood the test of time. It has little to do with musicianship; though this crew is surely talented. In any case, the songwriting of De Young - and the two remaining notesmiths - is not lost on us.

The saddest aspect of this show is that it occurred in 2008 where they played host and opener to a mid-sized Midwestern festival.

During their set, they played a surfeit of their greatest hits: "Blue Collar Man," "Grand Illusion," "Too Much Time On My Hands," "Lady," "Lorelei," "Crystal Ball," "Suite Madame Blue," "Fooling Yourself," "Miss America," "Sail Away," and "Renegade". And in the spirit of Big Bang Theory, they even covered The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus." You could say they partied as if it was 1982 and they were in an arena. So either they stepped into a wormhole directly from the Mecca or they've rehearsed without a break for nearly 10,000 days straight.

With their residual skill intact, they're certainly deserving of the fanfare. Alas, this is Styx and not Saga.

Consequently, they are one of the most recognizable names amongst eighties alums. Speaking of which, Chuck Panozzo joined them on stage for the last half of the concert. For those who don't remember this leather-clad bassist, he was in their original line-up.

Back to the present: Kilroy wasn't there; Styx was still killer.

[Is it just me or does Tommy Shaw look like David Spade? If ever they were to do a movie or a spoof, Spade should be cast first.]

Added: October 6th 2008
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website:
Hits: 5942
Language: english

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