Friday Nov.17 & Saturday Nov.18th 2017
Oro Medonte, Ontario
By Ted VB, Karen U. & Keith Sharp
The most apt word to describe Styx’s double sell-out engagement at Casino Rama is `Celebration’. `Celebration’ of a new studio album, `The Mission’ of which four tracks (or partial tracks); “Gone Gone Gone”, “Radio Silence”, “Khedive” and the opening “Overture” were all featured amongst the band’s classic hit laden set. “Celebration” in that Saturday’s performance also saluted Canadian lead singer/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan’s birthday (which was marked on stage with a cake and a happy-birthday singalong. “Celebration” in that original band bassist Charles “Chuck” Panozzo was honoured by Orillia’s LGTBQ community.
And most poignantly “Celebration” in the way, Styx honoured fallen comrades with a “Free Fallin” tribute to Tom Petty, a much appreciated “Courage” rendition for The Tragically Hip’s recently-departed Gord Downie, the late Freddie Mercury was also honoured with a sparkling singalong , featuring the `Casino Rama Choir’,
Add to this, a plethora of golden oldies from mega-platinum albums like `The Grand Illusion’, `Equinox’, `Pieces Of Eight’, “Paradise Theatre” and “Cornerstone” and you had a classic-rock love-in with Gowan, a whirling dervish behind and in front of his keyboards, ably supported by twin guitarists Tommy Shaw, JY Young, bassist Ricky Philips and drummer Todd Sucherman who all just seemed to be having an honest to god blast of a good time.
They brought out Panozzo for “Fooling Yourself” and a few more off the Many times Platinum Album “Grand Illusion.
With such a vast catalogue of hits, it must be virtually impossible to appease all their fans but it’s hard to believe anyone present could have been disappointed with a song lineup that featured the likes of “Too Much Time On My Hands”, “Crystal Ball”, “Blue Collar Man”,” Come Sail Away”, “Suite Madam Blue” and two rousing encores in “Rockin The Paradise” and “Renegade”.
And of course, any Canadian gig is special for Toronto’s Lawrence Gowan who didn’t disappoint with a re-worked version of “Criminal Mind”. He even added some personal context by informing that the spaceship “Khedive”, featured in the band’s latest concept album was actually the name of a warship, Gowan’s dad served on during the Second World War, a fitting tribute on a Remembrance Day weekend.
Call them a classic rock band if you will, but there’s nothing retro about the exuberance and enthusiasm Styx continue to project and the inventiveness of their new album `The Mission’ only bodes well for the future.