01
Feb
12

STYX..REVIEW BLU-RAY THE GRAND ILLUSION/PIECES OF EIGHT-LIVE-“RESPECTING THE LEGACY”

STYX  The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight LIVE

Competing with the classic lineup of Styx when these albums were originally released is something the “new” version of Styx do very well.

The reason is simple.

The new guys Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals, keys, 13 years with the band) Ricky Phillips (bass, vocals) and drummer Todd Sucherman are all exceptional players. They play with feel, and respect for the material.

JY Young is Styx’s secret weapon. His guitar sound now legendary and his vocal work is the glue that holds the band’s legacy of hard rock. A fact often overlooked.

Tommy Shaw the band’s chief songwriter, guitarist and leader seems to be playing at a level higher than even the glory days.

I have sat down with other players, fans,wives and friends and the general consenus is “wow this guy just smokes!  It’s true, Shaw is not just a survivor but he is a commanding presence.

The biggest elephant in the room is of course Dennis De Young. One thing will remain, De Young could write great material. Chuck Panozzo is still with band, gigging on bass on special occasions.

This  show is BIG on feel, the band plays very well.  Gowan sounds a lot like De Young, but always maintains an edge and that becomes defining over the course of the entire production.

Sucherman let’s face it is a monster of a drummer and Phillips bass work brings a modern edge to Panozzo’s original work.

Unexpected highlights are Fooling Yourself and Man in the Wilderness both from Shaw, and the band’s overall plunge into De Young’s title track Pieces of Eight.  JY Young rips through Miss America, and The Great White Hope and nails it to the floor with Gowan on Queen of Spades.

Aku-Aku fades out to a standing ovation.

Although Styx now sells coffee and jewellery on their official website they do remain in performance, vital to their own legacy. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and online international radio host http://emms.podbean.com/

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