Come Sail Away

July 9, 2005 at 11:30 am (Pop Culture on Parade)

Awesome–completely awesome! I lucked into free tickets to see Styx last night, over at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw. I don't think I could have asked for a better night!

First, let's start with the Dow Center. I can't think of a better place to go see a band–it's an auditorium with stadium seating, which made it hard to say there was a bad seat in the house. Wonderful–no obstructed views, no extremely right or left positions, and even if everyone in the house stood, you'd have to have a 7 foot tall drag queen dressed as Carmen Miranda before you had a head in your way. It's a 2200 seat auditorium (actually I think our high school had a bigger stage) and we had seats (myself, Honey, a friend of his and his girlfriend) dead center, upper balcony. The only better seats would have been front row center–I had a fantastic view and didn't miss a thing. You just can't beat the intimacy of being so close to the stage. I caught the show in 2000 at what is now DTE Energy Music Theater (the name was Pine Knob then) with REO Speedwagon and last night was a FAR better experience!

I don't think I need to write that the music was awesome–the original members (Tommy Shaw , James Young, and Chuck Panozzo, who wasn't with the band last night, sad to say) have not lost a step, missed a beat or lost an ounce of vocal power. Lawrence Gowan joined the permanent lineup of Styx in 1999 (he's a post unto himself), Todd Sucherman has been handling the drums since 1995 (when Lady '95 was recorded), and Ricky Philips shares the bass guitar work when Chuck's not playing.

One of the biggest bitches about bands who have been around as long as Styx is that the newer members don't measure up to the original lineup. In Styx's case, that couldn't be further from the truth. I'll babble on the subject very soon, but I do have to say that Lawrence, Todd and Ricky are all perfect fits for Styx, with the credentials to stand on their own, support the entire body of Styx's work in concert, as well as adding a new dimension to the band.

I have just one thing to say (for now) for those who whine "There's no De Young! WAH!" GET OVER IT! His presence is NOT missed–Lawrence Gowan is twice the musician De Young ever was. His energy, skill, talent and personality makes Styx concerts a true joy. Watching De Young on stage was like watching a stick figure, and I doubt I'd pay to see him even if he reunited with the band. Lawrence Gowan is TOO much fun to watch–he never holds still, he's constantly in motion, and seems to adore his fans as much as they adore him.

I'm sure I'll have more on this later–but I don't want to bore you to death. In short, fork out the bucks. You won't be disappointed.

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