“Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas” by Styx

Artist: Styx
Title: “Live At The Orleans Arena Las Vegas”
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 7/24/2015
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

Back in 2014, Styx was touring as a part of the “Endless Summer” tour that featured a headlining Foreigner and support from The Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder. The three classic acts performed to rousing response in whatever town they happened to drop in on. Since I didn’t get to catch any of the regional appearances when they happened here I was super stoked to find Eagle Rock Entertainment dishing out both an audio and video of the bands set from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. This summary speaks to the audio release only as I have not yet gotten my hands on the Blu-ray video but hope to do that soon.

Thinking back on my own personal appreciation for the music of Styx I have to chuckle at the fact that even though I’ve enjoyed them for decades now, and actually could play both “Equinox” and “Paradise Theatre” on the drums from beginning to end, they remain one of the bands that I have never, ever witnessed in concert for myself. I better get around to that before they decide that it’s time to retire but judging by the incendiary audio presentation I am currently blasting that does not seem to be something on the bands agenda anytime soon. The single CD release features twelve of the bands biggest hits such as “The Grand Illusion” which opens the set and draws you right into their musical world. It’s always been one of my favorites and usually seemed to be relegated to the closing part of their set. They follow with “Too Much Time On My Hands” from the great “Paradise Theatre” album and that was a radio hit times ten when that album came out. You young fans don’t remember the power of big radio rock stations but trust me this tune was in constant rotation. The band is joined by original bassist Chuck Panozzo during “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” and this seems to be a regular occurrence for the band as the musician is listed as being a part-time member. In today’s music world, the Styx band is comprised of Chuck Panozzo (guest bass), James “J.Y.” Young (guitar), Tommy Shaw (guitar), Todd Sucherman (drums), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards, vocals), Ricky Phillips (bass). The lineup has been this way for just over a decade now and that is what makes having these live releases the most interesting because you are getting the band as they are now and not during their earliest years. Trust me this is not a bad thing at all even though I grew up on the melodies of Dennis DeYoung as their singer.

The set includes “Lady” which is a number that I was understanding is not often played these days but it’s too solid a tune to omit from ones repertoire for too long so welcome back to that one. Some rarities/oldies come care of “Light Up” (from “Equinox”) and “Superstars (from “The Grand Illusion”) and these rest falls to their most iconic of numbers with “Blue Collar Man”, “Come Sail Away” and of course “Renegade”. The guys have a guest star during “Blue Collar Man” as guitarist Don Felder joins them to perform the tune. That must have been cool to watch for any in attendance. Singer Lawrence Gown is incredible in his delivery and I think can win over any fan that might be hesitating on checking out the band today based on their love of the original lineup. Of course both Shaw and Young do a great job on their own vocal numbers in addition to the guitar work but I expected as much from them after so many years in the lineup. That said, the musical might of drummer Todd Sucherman has taken these tunes to areas not previously explored and must be a pleasure for all drummers to watch in concert. I’m not too sure when and if we shall find new recorded material from Styx but I think at this point I would welcome some new ideas from them as long as they keep on playing a mostly hits live set. This CD is a must have for any fans of live, powerful arena rock and for those who appreciate what bands like Styx were out to do. For those who actually purchase physical music I should say that the digipak holder is very sparse and features no booklet inside even though there are a handful of photos across its cover. I’ll follow up on this release when I get the video version so stay tuned. Nice work Styx/Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Track Listing:
1. The Grand Illusion
2. Too Much Time On My Hands
3. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
4. Lady
5. Suite Madame Blue
6. Light Up
7. Crystal Ball
8. Superstars
9. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
10. Come Sail Away
11. Rockin’ The Paradise
12. Renegade

Official Website: http://www.styxworld.com

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