Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
June 27, 2018
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
Another night of rock and roll was in store for everyone on a beautiful summers night along the Boston waterfront. 2018 might just be the summer of great rock n’ roll at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Rock is alive and well thanks to bands like these who are always out on the road, and the fans who show up in droves to watch and support the bands. The crowd that night was of varying ages spanning many years. All one thing in common, to watch and listen to some great music. Part of the fun rock show experience is to look around and check out all the concert / band shirts that people are wearing.
If you have been listening to Tesla for the past thirty plus years or you have attended one of the many summertime shows, there is no need to explain that Tesla still sounds amazing and puts on a great show after all these years. The screen at the back of the stage said 30 Years Tesla. Time sure did go by fast, but the music remains great to this day. Telsa hit the stage with a crisp resonance, they still sound and look as great as they did back then.
The Tesla set kicked off with “I Wanna Live”, “Hang Tough” and “Heaven’s Trail”. The distinct Tesla vocals of Jeff Keith remain as good as they have 30 years ago. Backed up by the guitar talents of Dave Rude and Frank Hannon. Both work each of their sides of the stage with high energy during the set. The set went on with the Tesla anthems, “What You Give” and “Signs”. Tesla is a perfect musical makeup, a band that has always stood out from the rest of the bands of 80’s rock era.
During “Love Song”, the three large screens in the back displayed old photos of the band from the early days, it was a ride back in time, remembering the early days. The band still plays like they did in early days, if not better, over time, they have become more finely tuned. The set closed out with “Little Suzi” and “Modern Day Cowboy”. Tesla is a hard working band that lives up to their general motto, “Still Kickin’ Ass”. They are a hard working band that have maintained their status as a great band over the past three decades. Historically, Tesla is out on the road touring every summer and usually make a stop in New England somewhere. Despite in the change of the musical landscape over the past twenty years, Tesla has still been out there successfully touring and making new albums. It’s time for a Tesla headlining tour. There are so many more Tesla songs that need to be heard live. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time in the night for more Tesla. Nonetheless it was a performance that rocked to the top!
TESLA PHOTO GALLERY – BOSTON, MA
Next up was Joan Jett. An 80’s rock icon who got her start with The Runaways and has been going strong ever since with her solo career with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan kicked off her sixteen song set with “Bad Reputation” and continued with the musical momentum of the evening. Of course it included such classics as “Cherry Bomb”, “I Love Rock n’ Roll”, “I Hate Myself for Loving You”,“Crimson and Clover” and “Light of Day” from the 1987 movie which feature Joan with Michael J. Fox.
Then it was time for STYX. This isn’t just a band, a STYX show is an experience. A culmination of musical talents and songwriting that has thrived and persevered over the past forty plus years of their existence. STYX is another band that is constantly out on the road entertaining fans and drawing the crowds. They certainly are doing something right, because STYX is an amazing visual and musical experience. The night started off in typical STYX fashion, with “Overture”, from The Mission, the latest STYX album. Todd Sucherman came from below the stage, to the back of his drum kit with a welcoming wave to the crowd, with the rest of the band following suit taking each their places on stage. Then it was time to “hit the lights and lets get this show on the road”, with “Gone Gone Gone” off of The Mission as the first song of the night. A great way to start off the night, a high energy song and one of the many great tracks from the new album. While “Gone Gone Gone” is a new song to the STYX repertoire, it certainly has a classic STYX quality sound and musical arrangement, that is worthy of any veteran STYX fan or newcomer.
Tommy Shaw is an amazing musician and entertainer, once he hit the stage, he lit right up and so did the crowd. Then was Lawrence Gowan behind the keyboard, singing, spinning and master of his skill throughout the night. STYX’s lineup has evolved since its inception, but this lineup is the perfect formulation for musical excellence.
Then it was “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “Grand Illusion”. By this time the pavilion was energized caught up in a time machine of memories for many longtime fans, in enjoyment of STYX classics.
The night continued with “Lady”. James “JY” Young took vocals on “Light Up”, and then onto “Rockin’ The Paradise”. The night went by way to fast. Ricky Phillips on bass and guitar was all over the large stage, with huge video screens and walkway above Todd Sucherman’s kit. Phillips and Shaw took their spots by the microphones affixed at the rear walkways. There was no sitting still on that stage.
Sucherman, who has been with the band since around 1997, is a truly talented drummer and thrill to watch as he masters his craft behind the kit. The average person might underestimate a STYX drum beat as heard on the radio, but just watch Sucherman play any song, its really intense. Check out Todd Sucherman’s Facebook and Instagram pages to watch some of his drum cam videos. A Berklee College of Music trained drummer, Sucherman was back in the town where his drummer career holds roots. Sucherman’s drum beats and fills are the backbone of the STYX songs.
STYX still out and celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Grand Illusion album. Also in the set list of the night was “Radio Silence” from The Mission. Tommy Shaw spoke about the new album, and did remind us that it is a concept album, and don’t play it in shuffle mode. New material isn’t always appreciated by fans during shows, but it all had to be new at one point. Overall the new material appeared to be well received from the crowd that night as it was performed live. The Mission has done very good and was well received since its release last June (2017). It was good to see several songs from The Mission incorporated into the nights set, it was a perfect balance.
The night continued with Chuck Panozzo, making his first of several appearances to the stage, on bass for “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man). The crowd was elated. Its great to see this founding member still out with the band and taking the stage. During Panozzo’s stage appearance, Ricky Phillips plays guitar. Next was another favorite, “Too Much Time on My Hands” and then a solo spotlight at the keyboard for Gowan with “Khedive” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen Cover). Then it was time to “Come Sail Away”, the night was just about done. But not before an encore performance of “Mr Roboto”, which was recently reintroduced to the set list; on this tour played in its entirety for the first time in 35 years. The song was somewhat reintroduced with a new twist on the original performance version. It was a hit with the crowd. The night concluded with “Renegade”.
Each of these bands and artists, between Tesla, Styx and Joan Jett have many things in common. The longevity of their successful careers and continued fan support and turnout. One thing that stick out is their persistence. They are always out there, bringing their music to the fans, each with their own unique sound that keeps bringing back the fans for more, whilst creating new and younger fans along the way.
This STYX tour has a few more dates lined up. Don’t miss them if they come to a city near you.
STYX PHOTO GALLERY – BOSTON, MA