Susquehanna Bank Center
Camden, New Jersey
July 4, 2011
Photos: Steve Trager
It is more then a treat to have Styx kick off their recent summer tour right here in Camden, New Jersey at the Susquehanna Bank Center on Independence Day. The raw energy of the band can still blow you away as their live shows are nothing short of greatness. Even if Styx still has only two founding members, it’s always about the music, the visual show, and the great musical memories that have captivated this band in past performances. Every show is a great show, when it comes to all the key factors of songs to which make up the ninety minute set. Definitely wouldn’t matter how many new CD’s this band would drop in your lap these days, it’s all about the true cult classics that make them a stellar great band. Despite that there might be a song or two that is excluded from the set, Styx truly makes every song sound like a freshly new polished mater piece spanning their back catalogs.
Styx opened the show with the infamous radio mega-hit “Blue Collar Man” and from that moment on we could tell it was going to be a great show just from a few guitar licks. The production of this tour alone was amazing, bright lights surrounding the band as they pulled out every classic rock gem under the sun. Despite the few songs left out like “Mr. Roboto” and “Snowblind”, Styx still keeps it to the ‘Meat and Potatoes’ in their set . Nothing any fan enjoys more then to watch the guys just work the stage, toss out guitar picks and come to the edge of the stage at any given moment to look out into the audience. And all of this while playing some of the greatest classic rockers.
In what was a true treat, original bassist Chuck Panozzo came out to jam on "Fooling Yourself", which is something Styx fans have not seen in a long time.
From a musical standpoint Styx still can deliver the “goods” especially with Tommy Shaw belting out “Renegade” as the closing encore of choice. At one point in the show looking over at the stage, keyboardist (and Canadian) Lawrence Gowan was working his magical solos with his hands behind his back playing the keys to “Lady”. Nice to see some classic tricks tossed in during the show.
The entire highlights for this show have to be the soaring guitar riffs back and fourth from JY and Tommy who join each other at times in the center of the stage – sometimes joined by bassist Ricky Phillips – all with matching guitars. It definitely felt like the 80s all over again.
Another highlight of the show was when Tommy stepped as close to the front of the stage as he could and bent down to let fans touch his guitar – getting the feeling of playing it themselves towards the end of the show.
Styx as band lacks no energy with any song in their set seems like they had all four cylinder’s going at top speed. Once the show was set into motion, you can’t help but stay in your seat. They still posses truly stellar harmonies with songs like “Suite Madame Blue”, “Come Sail Away”, and “Lorelei” – and there's nothing better than a night out with the original theatrical rock band on a glorious Independence Day.
Styx Set List:
Blue Collar Man
The Grande Illusion
One With Everything
Too Much Time on My Hands
Suite Madame Blue
Man in the Wilderness
Come Sail Away