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High Energy Concert Affirms – Styx Still Has It

Singer / Keyboardist Lawrence Gowa throws himself into the music.

65. 62. 69. 66. 50.

These are the ages of the members of Styx’s current lineup: singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw, singer/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, guitarist James Young, bass guitarist Ricky Phillips, and drummer Todd Sucherman, respectively.
And if you were at their sold-out concert Friday night in Elmwood Park, it would be very hard to believe by the way they moved around on the stage.
The concert in Elmwood Park was sold out.

They ran, jump, kicked, hopped, you name it; during every minute of their two and half hour long show.

Styx’s two sets plus an encore were filled with chart toppers, new tunes, high energy and intensity, and just plain, good old fashioned rock ’n roll.
The rock group based out of Chicago opened up with “Gone Gone Gone” from their 2017 album The Mission, followed by organ-driven, “Blue Collar Man”, “The Grand Illusion”, and power-ballad “Lady”. The remainder of the first set was primarily contained of lesser-known hits, a couple of songs from The Mission, and closed out by “Suite Madame Blue” from Equinox.
James Young lays down a lead.

There is no doubt most in attendance were impressed with keyboardist Lawrence Gowan’s abilities and theatrics, frequently spinning his keyboard rig 360 degrees, and turning around playing facing the audience.

Oh, and you can’t forget Todd Sucherman, voted “number one Rock Drummer in the World” in 2009 Modern Drummer Magazine, as mentioned in the concert tonight. Or Tommy Shaw, who, like Gowan, has the high tenor voice that is tailor-made for Styx’s repertoire, and fronts “Blue Collar Man”, “Renegade”, and “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”.
Bass guitarist Ricky Phillips.

As a prelude to their second set finale, “Come Sail Away”, Lawrence Gowan showed his virtuosity in piano solo “Khedive”, also from the album The Mission. Afterward, he commented, “That one might have stopped traffic. [People would say] is that a Styx concert or classical?”. Gowan followed that with an audience sing-along of an except of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Needless to say, you could hear almost every voice in the outdoor amphitheater sing along with Gowan on the first line, “I’m sailing… away”.

In between stints with Styx, guitarist Tommy Shaw has played with Damn Yankees, Shaw Blades as well as releasing several solo albums.

The encore consisted of “Mr. Roboto” and “Renegade”. Yes, Gowan nailed the vocals on “Roboto”, on par with former Styx vocalist Dennis DeYoung, who wrote and sang the track. Multiple backing synths aided Mr. Roboto’s multiple keyboard lines throughout the song very nicely.

I don’t think there was one moment where there was even a hint of a lack of energy or intensity showed by any of the five band members on stage. These guys know how to have fun and put on a killer rock show, and the Roanoke audience certainly picked up on it and fed off of it.
Keep on rockin’ and rollin’, Styx.
Ryan Hunt

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