Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Celebrity Theatre
Date: Friday January 10th, 2020
For the past 5 years, it has been a tradition that Styx has been performing here in the Phoenix area at the start of each year. This year was no exception with a 7-night mini tour of the southwest to start off the new year. They are then moving to the east coast starting at the end of January for a massive tour.
For the last 17 years, the lineup of the band has not changed. Founding member and guitarist James “J,Y,” Young is joined by longtime member and guitarist Tommy Shaw. They are joined by Lawrence Gowan on keyboards, Todd Sucherman on drums and Ricky Phillips on bass. On a few of the songs, founding bass player Chuck Panozzo joins in. Chuck has medical issues so cannot perform the entire show, but it is a great treat to see him still rockin’ with the band on some of the classic Styx songs.
From 1975 to 1983, Styx released 7 albums with 2 that went Gold and the other 5 went Platinum (over 1 million copies sold). Along with fellow Chicago area band REO Speedwagon, Styx tore up the rock & roll music scene in the middle 70s to early eighties during the short lived “Disco & Urban Cowboy” era.
The show was divided up into 2 sets of about 1 hour each. The show consisted of songs from their new album, The Mission and classic rock hits from their previous albums. A full setlist is provided at the end of the review.
The show started with “Gone, Gone, Gone” from their new album, The Mission. They then launched into some classic songs. There are some songs that you know just what it is by the first few notes. The next song, “Blue Collar Man” is just one of those songs with Lawrence’s opening keyboard riffs. Not to be outdone, James and Tommy start the next song. “Grand Illusion” with some classic guitar riffs. This was a great 3 song starting set because it had everyone in the audience up and dancing and singing along.
The second set started with “Miss America” and “Crystal Ball”. During “To Much Time”, tommy turned the mic to the audience to let them sing the chorus. After “To Much Time”, the band left the stage and only Lawrence stayed behind. This is usually the time when Lawrence does a keyboard solo that is usually a tribute to some band. Tonight, Lawrence did a tribute to probably one of rock’s greatest drummers and lyricist, Neil Peart of Rush who died just a few days earlier. Lawrence played “Limelight”, one of Rush’s hits and written by Neil. The rest of the band then returned to finish the show with “Come Sail Away”, “Mr. Roboto” and finally “Renegade”. Chuck joined in on “Come Sail Away” and Renegade”.
Overall it was a classic Styx concert with great energy from both the band and the audience. If you get a chance to see Styx on the rest of their tour, I would highly recommend it. They are a fantastic band, with high energy, great music and amazing stage presence. I have now seem Styx over 8 times and each time I have a great time and thoroughly enjoy the show.
For the past 4 years, Styx has played at the Celebrity Theatre here in Phoenix, Arizona. The Celebrity Theatre is one of only 2 venues in the United States that has a rotating round stage. For some bands this can be a problem, but for Styx, they seem to embrace it and love it. They setup Todd’s drum kit on a riser in the middle of the stage and the mics are all in front of it. But this does not stop the band from moving around on the stage even as it turns playing to every part of the audience. And with Lawrence’s rotating keyboard, he can spin it to play to different parts of the crowd during each song. For some performers, you can see that they are just going through the motions, but with Styx you see that they are there to just have fun and play great music and love to have the interaction with the audience.
For tonight’s show we had 2 very special raffles. The first is an upgrade of seats to the 10th row put on by Celebrity Theatre and Danny Zelisko Presents. For 5 dollars donation you get a chance to win 2 upgraded seats. All of the money goes to St Mary’s Food Band that helps feed the less fortunate people in the greater Phoenix area. This raffle is usually done for all DZP shows at the Celebrity Theatre, so please join in to help a really great organization. The second raffle was for a guitar signed by the members of Styx. The profits would go to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock, a center that helps kids explore music, dance and creative arts.
I would highly recommend seeing Styx if you love good old 70s style Rock & Roll music. They play their biggest hits and always have the crowd up dancing and singing along with their music. You can find out more information about the band, their music and their upcoming Eastern Tour at their website: https://styxworld.com/ or on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/styxtheband/ .
If you are a true fan and also love to take cruises, in February of 2021, Styx will be headlining the “Rock Legends Cruise”. You can find out more information about the cruise and the other bands performing at: https://rocklegendscruise.com/rlc8/ .
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Right Reserved
Styx Setlist: (Album)
Gone, Gone, Gone (The Mission)
Blue Collar Man (Pieces of Eight)
Grand Illusion (The Grand Illusion)
Lady (Styx II)
Radio Silence (The Mission)
Snowblind (Paradise Theatre)
Red Storm (The Mission)
Light Up (Equinox)
Fooling Yourself (The Grand Illusion)
Rockin’ The Paradise (Paradise Theatre)
Suite Madam Blue (Equinox)
Miss America (The Grand Illusion)
Crystal Ball (Crystal Ball)
Pieces of Eight (Pieces of Eight)
The Outpost (The Mission)
To Much Time (Paradise Theatre)
Come Sail Away (The Grand Illusion)
Mr. Roboto (Kilroy Was Here)
Renegade (Pieces of Eight)