The inflatable jukebox is in storage, and the band that carries the name "Foreigner" is almost entirely made up of replacement players these days, except for founding guitarist Mick Jones. Still, Foreigner managed to serve up an enjoyable yet predictable performance on Sunday night at the House of Blues.
Vocalist Kelly Hansen, an almost-dead ringer for Steven Tyler, has a couple of years in the lead vocalist slot for Foreigner, and got the job replacing longtime signature voice Lou Gramm, after Gramm and Jones once again parted ways in early 2003.
The replacement of Gramm has gone better this time around, probably because Hansen is a closer fit vocally, than Johnny Edwards was during Gramm's previous Foreigner hiatus in the 90s.
Accessorize Hansen's vocals with a band that includes former Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson, drummer Jason Bonham, multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel, and of course Jones, and you have Foreigner circa: 2008 - souped up, and ready to rock.
The setlist was almost completely a "greatest hits" set with the exception of Jones' now traditional lead vocal on "Starrider" from the 1977 Foreigner debut album, and "Too Late," the first new Foreigner song recorded with Hansen on vocals (from the new Foreigner anthology No End In Sight.)
Jones is promising a new Foreigner album, and I think that he's probably got at least one more good Foreigner album in the tank, as long as he stays clear of outside songwriters.
"Too Late" might be a good song for another band, but it doesn't sound like a Foreigner song to me.
Foreigner - Too Late
After seeing several rough Foreigner shows with Lou Gramm, who struggled vocally after surgery for a brain tumor in the late 90s, it was good to see Foreigner back at full steam with Hansen on vocals. While I'll always hold special memories of the great Foreigner shows that I saw in the early 90s after Gramm and Jones reunited, Hansen does complete justice to Foreigner's hit catalog, and Cleveland fans ate it up, song after song.
Memo to Foreigner:
I'd love to see a few oddball tracks thrown into the setlist to make it feel less calculated - give me some of the proven crowd-pleasers like "That Was Yesterday," "Blue Morning, Blue Day," "Long, Long Way From Home," and why not take a shot at something like "Can't Wait" off Inside Information or "Reaction to Action?"
Both tunes are on your brand new anthology No End In Sight, check 'em out and think about it!
In the mood for some Foreigner related humor? Check this out!
Cold as Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Say You Will (acoustic)
Feels Like The First Time
Juke Box Hero / Whole Lotta Love
I Wanna Know What Love Is
Purchase Foreigner: No End In Sight (best of) from Amazon - CD or MP3
Foreigner's official website
Foreigner - That Was Yesterday (live at Deer Creek 1993)
Foreigner - Head Games (live at Deer Creek 1993)