(Review and all photographs by Sreve Trager)
Seems like almost yesterday when Foreigner formed back in 1976, which began a path that led them to their current status as classic rock icons.
As a four-piece churning out hit after hit and earning numerous No. 1’s and multiple Top 10 hits, who would ever imagine that Foreigner would still be on a natural high, celebrating their 40th anniversary a live touring band? They are, and their victory lap of a summer tour roared into BB&T Pavilion in Camden, New Jersey last month.
Music fans have long admired Foreigner for Mick Jones’ brilliant songwriting which helped him into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and you certainly can’t forget the blistering vocals of Kelly Hansen — who has kept Foreigner on top of their game for more than a decade now, reaching a whole new level of greatness in the process.
While Foreigner seems to come around at least once a year to keep that arena rock-driven sound alive, this time around they’re out on the road with Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience for one of the year’s can’t-miss lineups.
I absolutely love early shows, three bands with quick set changes and *poof* it’s all over.
Opening the show Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. There is no doubt after seeing this band perform as a headliner a few years ago, having them play what a forty-minute set is nothing compared to a two-hour masterpiece show spanning Led Zeppelin’s greatest recordings. The blend of melodies and rock anthems that these musicians have recreated note for note is nothing short of spectacular.
Although, as a result of their short set we did not get the “Moby Dick” synchronized version between Jason and his late father, John “Bonzo” Bonham. which is truly the pinnacle point of the show. Oh, the days of Led Zeppelin can never be replaced, yes, but you can close your eyes for just a quick moment rewind the time clock to the great era of music with Jason Bonham and his band.
Next up was newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lifers, Cheap Trick, no strangers to the Northeastern region of the United States.
Cheap Trick can still bring the house down with their greatest hits collection spanning countless generations of fans with songs like “Surrender,” “Dream Police” and ” I Want You To Want Me” amongst a blend of other captivating songs in their set.
I don’t think I have ever seen any band change guitars more so then Rick Nielsen, going through everything from Gibson Les Pauls to Fender Stratocasters to his trademark six-all-in-one-guitar that he would bring out halfway in the show just for one song, a spectacle and a half at any rock and roll show, period.
For the several thousand that love Foreigner all these years and still can’t get enough of a great high energy show, even in the hot summer days of July Foreigner turned up the heat just a few hundred degrees with this Camden, New Jersey headlining performance.
From a visual standpoint, I have seen Foreigner open for Kid Rock, perform in support of Night Ranger and Journey, and have also seen them perform a free show in 2004, but this was definitely an eye-opening experience that takes Foreigner to a whole new level as a band.
While the setlist has never changed, that’s with good reason — it’s the rock anthems that have earned Foreigner their signature sound on radio and in concert all these years.
Bassist Jeff Pilson, no stranger to rocking out harder than any bassist, shredded his bass lines while burning into a sweat raging through his stage attire, a true rock musician all in one.
In the back of our minds, we can replace musicians, voices, and people but to find the right voice to fill someone’s shoes is a task in a half. In Foreigner’s Kelly Hansen, he’s found a way to excel in that role since joining the group in 2004. His vocal range nothing short of stellar, and his stage presence as a musician is amazing.
As they say, you can never get bored with artists like Foreigner, they bring the house down in a live show with their momentous songs, harmonies, and guitar-driven anthems. They still sound fresh and polished in concert year after year … perhaps that’s one reason why fans of Foreigner can still fill rock venues around the world.
Foreigner’s will never be a boring rock show period. It’s high energy and well worth every dollar to meet them and see them live, center stage, classic rock at its finest.