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Don Felder, Styx & Foreigner at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Don Felder, Styx & Foreigner at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Mike Perciaccante By

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Don Felder, Styx and Foreigner
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Soundtrack of Summer Tour
Wantagh, NY
June 28, 2014

On a pleasant early summer Saturday evening, the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater was transformed into a time machine as Styx and Foreigner double-headlined (on this tour the two bands have been alternating the closing slot with Don Felder opening at each venue) the Soundtrack of Summer Tour.

Opening act, Felder, the former Eagles lead guitarist (he wrote the famous riff and music for the classic "Hotel California") provided the crowd at the midsized outdoor amphitheater with just the spark to set the night off on the right foot. Stepping out onto the stage in the early evening, Felder dressed in a grey/green vest that contrasted perfectly with his neatly cropped white hair, California tan, white shirt and slacks.

His performance was both diverse and succinct. With a smile on his face, he and his band rolled through a set that included Eagles hits, old solo offerings and new solo offerings. His ten song set opened with a pair of Eagles hits, "Already Gone" and "One of These Nights." Then taking a moment to talk with the crowd the guitarist announced, "This has been a great week at Soundtrack of Summer. We have two songs in the Top 10 on Classic Rock Radio—a new version of "Hotel California" recorded with a couple of members of Styx at #8 and this one." With that he played "You Don't Have Me" from his 2012 album Road To Forever (Rocket Science Recordings).

Felder was in a playful and jovial mood. He made it a point to interact with the crowd introducing "Victim of Love" as "a song I did with my former band, the Seagulls." "Seven Bridges Road" followed. Prior to playing the song, Felder said with a chuckle that the Eagles "did it in warm-ups to see who was in good voice, who wasn't and who had stayed out for too long the night before." Moving on, Felder introduced his band (Timothy Drury on keyboards, Shem von Schroeck on bass, Greg Suran on guitar and Stevie "D" DiStanislao on drums) and then played "Witchy Woman." "Heavy Metal" was introduced as "a song I wrote in 1981 for an animated movie. If you remember seeing the movie, you weren't high enough." His strong set wound down with two more Eagles classics, "Heartache Tonight" and "Life In The Fast Lane."

Felder then switched guitars. Raising his white double neck guitar to the crowd he asked if it looked familiar. The multi-generational crowd roared with approval. The cheers became even louder when he said, "Then you must know what's coming next." With that Tommy Shaw and Todd Sucherman from Styx strolled out on stage and joined the band for a stirring version of "Hotel California" featuring Shaw on lead vocals. The audience, which had spent more than half of the hits filled set on its feet cheered wildly as the seven musicians departed the stage.

After a short intermission, Styx took the stage. Todd Sucherman appeared first on a riser at the back of the stage. He then took his position behind the skins. Guitarists James Young and Tommy Shaw, bassist Ricky Phillips then took their places. Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan was last, taking his position on stage right, and they were off. The set, which features hit after hit was nothing short of astonishing.

Opening with the pomp and circumstance of "The Grand Illusion" (featuring Gowan on lead vocals while playing his silver revolving keyboard rig with the light-up Styx logo on the front) , the crowd immediately rose to its feet and stayed there for the entire set. James Young, Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips came to center stage for their synchronized guitar dancing and juking on "Too Much Time on My Hands." Shaw then switched from electric to acoustic guitar and brought original bassist Chuck Panozzo out for "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" during which Phillips switched to double neck guitar and Young played both keyboards and guitar.

"Lady" was next up, followed by "Light Up" (prior to which Young exuded crowd members to raise their cellphone and/or smartphones with a lighter app as they would have with matches or their lighters in the '70s). During the song the huge LED screens at the back of the stage showed lit matches and candles. "Crystal Ball" from the 1976 A&M Records album of the same name was followed by "Superstars" from The Grand Illusion (A&M Records, 1977) during which Tommy Shaw went off stage and reappeared amongst the crowd, playing guitar while walking up and down the aisles in the lower sections.

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