Summertime and carnivals go together like classic rock and Foreigner; tonight Shawnee Kansas, just outside of Kansas City, had both. Still drying out from the week before, and still muddy after Rockfest, things continued on in the suburbs at Old Shawnee Days with none other than “The Voice of Foreigner,” Lou Gramm.
Taking the stage at 9:00, Lou Gramm and his band (Andy Knoll on keyboards, AD Zimmer on bass, Michael Staertow on guitar, and brother Ben Gramm on drums) would play a collection of Foreigner hits, and solo material, for the next 86 minutes. Shortly after the third song of the set, Feels like the First Time, someone in the audience shouted “Dirty White Boy!” to which Lou replied, “We’re going to play all those songs!” which was true. Well…mostly. Dirty White Boy, and Head Games were noticeably absent from the bands set, but when an artist has as many hits as Lou, it is understandable that there will be a few omissions.
Though in his mid-sixties, Lou does put all the energy he can muster into his performances. While he might not be able to hit the same notes he did when he was younger, he can still sustain him, and his passion is as strong as it ever was. Fan, and radio, favorites like Double Vision, Cold As Ice, I Want to Know What Love Is, and Urgent filled the set, with minimal introduction from Lou. After Urgent, most of the band left the stage, leaving Lou, and Ben on drums; Lou introduced his brother, before stepping off himself, and Ben launched into a drum solo. While the display of skill Ben gave was certainly impressive, it did seem a little out of place with the songs of Foreigner; certainly fans come to expect this from Neil Peart at a Rush concert, but it did give the other members of the band a few minutes to rest.
After coming back from their break, the band launched into Blue Morning, Blue Day from the Double Vision album. Lou seemed to struggle with the timing on this song a bit, coming in a measure late, causing him to sing some verses a tad faster. I had noticed the timing issue in other performances of this song on YouTube, but when a musician is as iconic as Lou, it is forgivable.
In all, the band of musicians that Lou has selected play the hits of Foreigner well, and any fan of the band would enjoy the trip down memory lane given by the man who recorded the hits, the soundtrack of their youth, 20-30 years earlier. For more information, and tour dates, please visit Lou’s website, and Facebook page, linked below.