The first stop on a tour of Quebec from STYX took place August 24th in Trois Riviere at Cogeco amphitheatre. I usually do not like ampitheatre layouts for shows. I have to say this one is different and I might be bold enough to say it is he best venue I’ve been to in the province of Quebec. Situated on the water front and minutes from downtown it’s a perfect location. Unlike many arenas or theatres the seats here have more than sufficient leg space. There are three large screens, one on each stage side and one above stage that gives everyone (even those on the back lawn) a great view. I would come back anytime to see any show just tor Cogeco amphitheatre experience. Now on to the show.
An opening piece called Overture played as the STYX logo appeared in a blue backdrop and Todd Sucherman appeared on the ramp above his drum kit. One by one the other members of the band came on stage to the rocking of, Gone Gone Gone the first single from their great new concept album, The Mission. Keyboardist/ vocalist Lawrence Gowan wore a yellow jacket while spinning, twirling and dancing around the stage. Unlike many classic rock bands out there just relying on the laurels of their past It’s great to see STYX open a show with a new song.
While not forgetting the past, Tommy Shaw dressed in a leather jacket, rocked us into the 70’s with Blue Collar Man. After a pumped up Grand Illusion Gowan serenaded the crowd with, Lady. Guitarist James ‘JY’ Young sang two songs Light Up and Miss America. He must have been having fun since he was jumping and playing his guitar behind his head at one point. JY also did a fair amount of between song banter usually about the songs or albums they came from. All night long JY fired off one solo after another. He started off the night wearing a gorgeous paisley silver jacket then just wore a plain back shirt. In between JY’s songs the band once again showed off another new song with the excellent, Radio Silence.
Then came a triple threat of highlights. First up was the song that made STYX famous in Canada and in particular Quebec with Suite Madame Blue. A song they are not playing on their US tour dates. Up next Tommy played acoustic guitar for the first half (then switched to electric for second half) of Crystal Ball. It received the biggest applause of the night with a standing ovation. On the big screens you could see Shaw himself was overcome with emotion. It was the most emotional moment I think I’ve ever seen at any STYX concert. Then came another song that is only played in Canada. It was time for Gowan to do his signature song, A Criminal Mind. it is another song not played on other tour dates. That means we here on these Quebec dates get two extra songs over any other US city. Guess it means if you’re going to see STYX anywhere make sure to see them in Quebec. Not too mention we do have the best audiences.
Then like a dream come true came another special moment in the night. Shaw introduced original bassist, Chuck Panozzo to perform with them on Fooling Yourself (the Angry Young Man). This ended with Panozzo, Shaw, JY and regular bassist, Ricky Phillips (now on guitar) lined up at the front of the stage strumming away together. Can this night be anymore special? Believe it or not, yes it could. Too Much Time On My Hands had everyone clapping in time to the refrain on “I’ve got too much (clap-clap) time on my hands.” Many moments throughout the night while Shaw or JY sing their lead vocal songs Gowan and Phillips play around with each other on the carousel. The beat of the night was provided by the best drummer in rock music today, the pound heavy hitter, Todd Sucherman.
Another new song the instrumental piece, Khedive, gave Gowan a chance to show off his piano skills. Gowan’s keyboard is atop a spinning carousel that makes him the most fun and entertaining keyboardist in music. He had to lock in the spinning to sit down and play a over of Bohemian Rhapsody up to the cut off point where everyone is just about to bang their heads a la Wayne’s World, so it added a bit of comic relief. Then came yet another of the night’s special moments when Gowan played a cover of the Harmonium french Quebec classic, Pour Un Instant. This is surely the first time he’s ever played it on the STYX stage. It rightly so received a major sing along from the crowd. This madly led into, Come Sail Away bringing Panozzo back on stage and Gowan standing on top of his keyboard where smoke would pour out as the audience swayed their arms back and forth again singing along.
It wasn’t even over. We got treated to a two song encore that started with Gowan wearing what looked like a post apocalyptic punk rock jacket and top hat while dancing and singing Rockin’ the Paradise. Of course the usual STYX closer came with Shaw singing his outlaw song, Renegade which brought out bassist Panozzo. There was even a confetti blast in this two song encore. As the band took their bows and waved goodbye two more new songs , The Outpost and Mission to Mars played over the PA Once again STYX proved they are one of the best live bands to experience. Thankfully Pointe Claire was up next as a benefit show for the Strangers in the Night charity gourmet gala. Check out my next post for a full run down of the event and STYX concert.
Gone Gone Gone
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
Suite Madame Blue
A Criminal Mind
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Too Much Time On My Hands
snippet of Bohemian Rhapsody
Pour Un instant
Come Sail Away
Rockin’ the Paradise
over the PA The Outpost / Mission to Mars