Styx Has a ‘Mission’ to Rock – Tour Review

2019-08-11

Styx performing at the Jackson County Fair – Review and photos by Anne Erickson

Review + photos: Styx and Foreigner rocked high-octane sets while on tour at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan. Find full coverage here

The music of Styx is timeless, and when you have a band that’s as energetic and tight as they were in their genesis, it makes for a winning combination. That said, it’s no surprise that Styx’s current summer tour is playing to packed houses around North America.

The rockers are out on their summer tour, and the trek came to the Jackson County Fair in Michigan on Wednesday (Aug. 7) to a nearly sold-old grandstand.

Foreigner opened the evening, and it was the band’s only summer date with Styx. It’s easy to forget how many hits Foreigner holds, but it became obvious as the set unfolded. From “Juke Box Hero” to “Hot Blooded” to “Cold As Ice,” the set features a bevy of massive rock hits, and the crowd heartily sang along the full time.

Next up was Styx. As the guys took the stage, it was obvious they have the stage presence and charisma of a band that’s been touring for decades. As the colorful lights flooded the stage, the band strutted out performing “Gone Gone Gone” before quickly kicking in to the next big number, “Blue Collar Nights (Long Nights).”

Tommy Shaw is in top form these days. When he’s center stage, it’s nearly impossible to look away, whether he’s rocking an electric guitar or singing to a bare, acoustic backing. The rest of the band also has a great chemistry, including singer-guitarist James “JY” Young, singer-keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, drummer Todd Sucherman and bassist Ricky Phillips.

The nearly sold-out crowd welcomed hits such as “Lady,” “The Grand Illusion” and “Come Sail Away” with huge rounds of applause and plenty of singing along. The audience also welcomed newer songs off Styx’s latest album, “The Mission.”

As the encore approached, the crowd anticipated the return of “Mr. Roboto” to the set list. Styx recently added the song to their performances after not performing it for years. With its challenging instrumental arrangement and vocal lines, “Mr. Roboto” is a difficult song to pull off live, but Styx did it with ease and confidence, with Gowan’s voice stretching through the octaves and the rest of the band’s instrumentals soaring.

From the first splashes of light and sound in the opening song to the epic “Mr. Roboto” finale, Styx’s show delivered a larger-than-life, thrilling mix of music and drama that shows why they’re still one of the most exciting bands to see live.

Styx at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Styx at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Styx at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Styx at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Styx at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Foreigner at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Foreigner at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Foreigner at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

Foreigner at the Jackson County Fair in Michigan by Anne Erickson

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