Foreigner was in town Saturday night to bring their 40th Anniversary Summer Tour to an end. The show was at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Some fans seem to think that Foreigner was our lucky charm that day by bringing some much-needed rain to the area. With the show being at an outdoor venue it made for a very interesting evening, but not to worry…. everyone was definitely “Hot Blooded” by the end of the night.
On this tour they had Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and Cheap Trick. As I was entering the venue there was a sign by the entry stating that Robin Zander would not be singing for Cheap Trick Saturday night. This was due to Hurricane Irma. Robin had to return home to Florida help his family ahead of the hurricane. We hope that Robin and his family fared well through Hurricane Irma and we all get it! A live show is great, but family comes first every time.
My first stop for the evening was to Foreigner‘s meet and greet. There I got to watch a slew of fans meeting the band and having their photos taken. I always love to have this opportunity to watch the fans interact with the band and likewise watch the band interact with their fans. It always shows me the true respect the artists have for their fans. The VIP meet and greet line was really long, very impressive actually. To that, it was raining and the line was queued out in the rain for over an hour before the meet and greet started. Faithful and soaked fans were just thrilled to be there regardless of the rain.
Foreigner was very gracious with every one of their fans from the first to the last one. One by one I watched fans trickle out from the VIP area with huge smiles on their faces and a few even high-fiving each other. They were so excited they had the chance to finally meet the band. After the VIP fans were done I had a chance to say hello to the guys. They were really excited for the show, especially with it being the last show of the summer tour. One could take that as if they’re thrilled that it’s over because they are tired of touring, but in reality, they finally get home to see their families again after being on the road for a long and busy tour and of course some well-earned down time. One thing that was clear was that they were not going to disappoint the fans. They were there to put on a major show, rock the crowd and blow out the end of the summer tour.
First on stage for the night was Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. For those of you not familiar with this group Jason Bonham is the son of John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. In this group he is the drummer of the band. Let me tell you he’s not resting on his dads laurels either, he’s got some great drumming skills. If you’ve never seen this band live, you really need to. They rocked a lot of Led Zeppelin music and the sound fantastic. The crowd loved this band.
Second up for the evening was Cheap Trick. As mentioned before, Robin was not able to be there due to the hurricane so in place they had a few local artists that covered singing for him throughout the show. Here’s how the full Cheap Trick set was done in Robin’s absence:
Hello There – Rick Nielsen, Mike McCready
Ain’t That a Shame – James Dylan, Mike McCready
Stiff Competition – Thunder Pussy (Molly Sides and Whitney Petty), Mike McCready
Need Your Love – Thunder Pussy (Molly Sides and Whitney Petty), Mike McCready
I Know What I Want – Tom Petersson
Waitin’ for the Man – Tom Petersson
I Want You to Want Me – James Dylan, Mike McCready
Dream Police – Sophie Angiulo, Rick Nielsen, Mike McCready
My Generation – Jason Bonham/drums, Michael Devin, James Dylan, Mike McCready, Daxx Nielsen/guitar
So I have to tell you about this mystery vocalist you are probably asking yourselves about; Sophie Angiulo. This young lady is part of Seattle’s School of Rock and is in a Cheap Trick cover band. She came out to the meet and greet as a fan and mentioned she’s covers their music. So Rick Nielson asked her if she could sing the song “Dream Police” and she responded with yes she could she sing the song, so she did, then they invited her to join them on stage during “Dream Police” to be their guest vocalist. When Sophie started singing, crowd went bananas. It was just a fantastic moment. Sorry guys, but Sophie basically stole the entire set right out from under you. I caught some video of this with my phone and it’s linked below, check this young lady out. The future of music is safe in her hands! It was great that Cheap Trick was able to go ahead and perform while letting Robin deal with his emergency back home. What can you do when a natural disaster happens? Families come first so we all were thrilled that they still played and that Robin was able to get home. In the end it all it worked out.
Last up the night was the band everybody came see, Foreigner. Before the band took the stage, the stage was covered with a gigantic black curtain and as the music started to play the black curtain dropped and the band kicked off the show with “Double Vision”. From the beginning of their set it was full throttle energy, insane lighting, a killer stage setting, fog bursts, pyrotechnics and as always, great music. Unlike last year’s tour stop in Seattle, this year Mick Jones was on tour with the band for the summer. It’s always nice to get the chance to see Mick out on the stage with the band and it just makes a Foreigner show that more enjoyable.
During the third song of the night, “Cold As Ice”, vocalist Kelly Hansen jumped off of the stage and jumped out into the crowd. He walked through the fans who were standing on the lower level then went up into the seats on the next level up where he stood on a few seats, sang to fans, shook some hands and then returned to the stage. The band wend on to play many more fan favorite songs through out their set. During “Dirty White Boy” Kelly dropped to his stomach and put is butt out facing the crowd while shaking it which had the women cheering loudly.
On this tour they performed “Starrider”. It came along with lots of fog and really fun cosmic lighting that made for an interesting visual for the audience. The overhead lighting above the stage starting moving into an arched shape and the backdrop had a huge juke box which signaled to the audience that “Juke Box Hero” was about to begin. It was dark all across the seating and fans were focused on the stage. Then out of nowhere from the middle of the crowd by the front of house soundboard, Kelly Hansen started being elevated into the air above the crowd on a rising single platform with a couple of spotlights illuminating him. Not to worry, he was safety strapped into the platform keep him safe from falling. The crowd erupted with cheers. Cellphones lit up the crowd as fans from every direction were snapping photos and taking video of this moment in the show. As he hit the end of the first chorus the platform descended and he joined the rest of the band on the stage to finish out the song and to end their main set for the night.
After a brief exit from the stage the band came back on stage to wrap up the night with a two song encore starting off with “I Want to Know What Love Is”. This year Foreigner invited the choir from South Kitsap High School to join them for this song. I have to stop for a moment and mention the choir program that they do in their shows. Foreigner helps many music programs from all over by inviting them to perform at their shows. The band makes a donation to performing choir’s music program to help them with funding. This is something they feel deeply committed to so that they can be a part of helping keep music programs alive. I have a deep respect to this band for what they are doing to help so many! Thank you Foreigner for caring about music and the future of music.
The show ended with “Hot Blooded” and the fans erupted for the entire song. Singing along, dancing at their seats and letting the last of their energy out for the night. There is a reason why this band is still touring! What a great live show by Foreigner and all the bands on this tour. The band is now on a break until their fall Canadian tour kicks off in mid October. If you are in Canada, make a point to go see Foreigner live. It’s always a great show!
Cold As Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Blue Morning, Blue Day
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like the First Time
Juke Box Hero
I Want to Know What Love Is (with the South Kitsap High School Choir)
Mick Jones – Lead Guitar
Kelly Hansen – Lead Vocals
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Tom Gimbel – Flute, Rhythm Guitar, Saxophone;
Michael Bluestein – Keys
Bruce Watson – Lead Guitar
Chris Frazier – Drums