Styx - Joan Jett - Tesla
May 30, 2018
Story by James West, The-Rocker.com
Photos by Danette West, The Rocker Chic
Most classic rock bands from the 70’s and 80’s are now content with just being able to play the local casino and fair circuit just so they can keep active and to hopefully make a little spending money in their ‘golden’ years.
Gone are the days of gigantic popularity, huge stadium tours and mass fan hysteria. As a fan of this genre it is sometimes very difficult for me to watch these classic rock icons being relegated as a sideshow act to some stupid carnival or barbeque event. But I guess I should be thankful to at least have an avenue to still be able to witness these incredible bands in all their former glory no matter what the venue. An interesting alternative lately is to group two or three classic
rock bands onto the same bill in order to stack the chances of a descent turnout and still be able to pay the venue and contribute to the bands’ retirement account.
Last week I was fortunate to witness such an amazing event at Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine with Styx, Tesla, and Joan Jett. This wasn’t my first rodeo with seeing Styx and Tesla on the same bill; they had played together a couple years ago with Def Leppard in San Diego and did not disappoint, and last week was no exception- They both still kicked serious butt and left you wanting more. But that’s also the main
drawback with stacking these talented bands- you never quite get enough of the show.
Return Of The Rocker Spawn!
I was also fortunate enough to have my Rocker Spawn April again with me to attend the show along with Rocker Chic Danette and also my Rocker Niece Monica, who met us at the show. In preparation for the concert-at-hand, Rocker Spawn, Rocker Chic, and The Rocker himself paid homage to an incredible picture that The Rocker Chic captured of Tommy Shaw the last time we saw Styx. We all did our best to imitate “Flying Tommy” and it got us all jazzed up to see this incredible band once again.
By the way, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of The Rocker Chic’s wigs; last time it was Bret Michaels, this time it was Tommy Shaw, who’s next? Lord please don’t let it be Dee Snider…
More Time For Tesla Please!
Seven o’clock- Time to rock! As was the case when we seen them with Styx and Def Leppard in San Diego, Tesla wasted no time in starting promptly and delivering the goods. I’m sure I share the same criticism with others who attended the show as to wondering why Tesla opened as a ‘Special Guest’ and not Joan Jett. Nothing against Joan Jett as I admire her being a feminist icon throughout her career and also being generally acknowledged as the Queen of rock and roll, but
please, Tesla should have had more time! I spent most of Tesla’s set trying to avoid other concert goers blocking my view as the late arrivals climbed their way to their seats with beer and popcorn in tow. By the time Tesla ran through their short, seven-song set I had only managed to snap just a few pictures and to rock just for a few minutes. We didn’t even get a preview of a new song from their new album Shock due out this month. All I can say is thank God I got to see them perform a full concert set last year in Palm Springs!
The Queen Of Rock And Roll!
I’ve never purchased any of Joan Jett’s albums, but I am a fan of her hits. And luckily, that’s what we mostly got during her lengthy set of power pop rock. Bad Reputation, Cherry Bomb, I Hate Myself For Loving You, and I Love Rock And Roll were well played and received, and even covers like Crimson And Clover and Everyday People went over well with the crowd. But, again, I just feel like she took away time from Tesla. Sorry to all the Blackhearts fans out there…
Sailing Away With Styx!
Styx has always held a special place in my rock and roll heart. From the first time I heard Lady and Lorelei to the queen-ish sparkle of Mademoiselle I knew I was hooked. It’s funny, I remember like it was yesterday with me and my old buddies taking my first car, an old yellow galaxy 500, out to an old river park in the boonies of Arkansas and blasting the 8-Track of The Grand Illusion through a pair of home speakers- made into car speakers- placed on the top of the car for full effect! Downing some Old Milwaukee
and rocking out to Miss America- now those were the Best Of Times, but that’s another song altogether! LOL The clincher on this story is that, some 40-years later, Styx even commented at the concert about The Grand Illusion being available on 8-track back in the day!
Instead of fading away like plenty of other classic rock bands Styx seems to be getting better and better each time I see them. You can tell they really put a lot of effort into not only the musicianship and interaction at their concerts, but also into the lighting and effects and overall mood of the performance. Like a Kiss concert it’s as much about the vibe and feeling of the show as it is
the music itself. The interplay between guitarists James “JY” Young and Tommy Shaw was absolute precision, but I believe the key to this bands’ performance regimen is due to extraordinary drummer Todd Sucherman. The last few months I’ve really enjoyed Todd’s video postings on Facebook where his drumming is isolated. This guy is a drummer’s drummer who knows how to propel both the song and band onto another performance level!
Kudos also go to Ricky Phillips on bass and especially to Lawrence Gowan on keyboards/vocals for their talents as well. What I like about Lawrence is that he knows what the score is- That it’s really all about JY and Tommy at a Styx concert, so he plays his role very well without trying to dominate the performance like a certain past singer did at times. With that said I am also thankful to Dennis De Young for everything he brought to Styx in the past; there is no denying his originality and contributions to the legacy of Styx. It also appears that past wounds are now healing as they even performed Mr. Roboto for the first time as a band in concert since Dennis left the band.
The special 20-dollar “all-in” ticket price was a steal of a deal for three great rock acts with something still left to prove- That classic rock doesn’t have to mean old rock. PREFERRED Rock is a better title for me!
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
May 30, 2018, Irvine, California
1. "Bad Reputation"
2. "Cherry Bomb"
3. "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)"
4. "Victim of Circumstance "
5. "You Drive Me Wild"
6. "Light of Day"
8. "Love Is Pain"
9. "Fresh Start"
10. "Love Is All Around"
11. "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"
12. "Crimson and Clover"
13. "I Hate Myself for Loving You"
14. "Everyday People"
Styx, May 30, 2018, Irvine, California:
Concert Set List:
1. "Gone Gone Gone"
2. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)"
3. "The Grand Illusion"
5. Light Up
6. "Rockin the Paradise"
7. "Radio Silence"
8. "Miss America "
9. "The Outpost"
10. "Fooling Yourself"
11. "Too Much Time"
13. "Bohemian Rhapsody"
14. "Come Sail Away"
15. "Mr. Roboto"
Tesla, May 30, 2018, Irvine, Calif.
1. "I Wanna Live"
2. "Hang Tough"
3. "Heaven's Trail"
5. "Love Song"
6. "Little Suzi"
7. "Modern Day Cowboy"