Written by Alan Francis

With the recording of a NASA countdown playing over the stage speakers, and the audience eagerly counting down along with it, the anticipation grows. 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – and veteran rockers Styx hit the stage, launching themselves and their fans into a musical orbit with the opening track ‘Overture,’ from their concept album The Mission.

The band members consisting of James Young or JY (guitars/ backing vocals), Tommy Shaw (guitars/vocals), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards/vocals), Ricky Phillips (bass/ backing vocals), and Todd Sucherman (drums/ backing vocals) played tightly, driving through the opening chords in unison. With the keyboards finally rising above all, Shaw fired the opening notes to ‘Gone, Gone Gone,’ a track also from the album, The Mission.

The crowd was now in full rock mode, and the band catapulted themselves into a higher orbit, taking everyone back in time to the ‘Pieces Of Eight’ album, playing their popular rock hit, ‘Blue Collar Man.’

Guitar and vocal harmonies continued, with the title track from their multi-platinum-selling album, ‘The Grand Illusion,’ which was then followed by the more subdued and early career chart hit ‘Lady,’ from the album ‘Styx II.’

It was nice to see founding member and bass guitarist Chuck Panozzo join the band on stage, for this and several songs.

During his keyboard solo, Lawrence Gowan paid homage to legendary Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury by playing a section of the classic hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ and the crowd eagerly joined in.

As at every one of their live shows, Styx made a strong showing this night, playing a classic selection of crowd favorites plucked from their extensive music catalog.

Other songs that were included in the night’s performance were Light Up, Radio Silence, Miss America, Crystal Ball, Rockin’ The Paradise, Fooling Yourself, Too Much Time, and the popular ‘Come Sail Away,’ where Styx had the entire audience singing along, in what appeared to be the show’s final song.

But the night was not done. The crowd asked for more and the band obliged. Coming back for an encore, they played the classic Mr. Roboto, which once again had everyone singing along as well as several members of the audience dancing on their seats. The band closed the show with Pieces Of Eight album rocker ‘Renegade.’

At the end of the night, with the band’s/audience’s spirits in overdrive, it was “Mission accomplished!” for both.

Photos by Alan Francis

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