Mount Pleasant, Michigan (October 7, 2017) –
As if Foreigner needs any kind of introduction…
Foreigner is celebrating their 40th Anniversary in an extraordinary, legendary way: a reunion by all the surviving original members. Add to that – a collaboration with the current Foreigner band. Foreigner past and present were united; what a gathering it was! It was an honor to be part of such a momentous event. Foreigner’s 40th Anniversary Tour marked the first time all of the musicians were together on stage at the same time since the 1980’s!
Iconic rock band, Foreigner, formed by Mick Jones in 1976, is still just as relevant 40 years later. Foreigner still has a loyal fan following; devoted enough to travel all the way to the middle of Michigan, in the remote town of Mount Pleasant, MI to see it all unfold.
The reunion consisted of all the surviving original band members: co-founder Mick Jones, co-founding frontman Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott on drums, keyboardist Al Greenwood, multi-instrumental musician Ian McDonald and bassist Rick Wills. They joined “Foreigner II”: lead singer Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, rhythm guitarist/saxophone player Tom Gimbel, keyboardist Mike Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Chris Frazier on stage to pump out 19 awe-inspiring Foreigner works of art. The camaraderie between the original Foreigner members and the Foreigner tribute band is undeniable. It is obvious that the tribute band respects the legacy that was laid down by their predecessors.
“Filming in progress” – this special event was recorded for a TV special, DVD and live album – all expected to be released sometime in 2018.
Foreigner II started off the magical evening with “Cold As Ice”. Followed up with “Head Games”, “Waiting For a Girl Like You” and “Headknocker”. An acoustic set trailed including “Say You Will” and “The Flame Still Burns”. Next up was “Fool For You Anyway” and “Urgent”.
Jones then took over for a psychedelic, laser-embellished “Starrider”. Next up was an instrumental version of Tramontane by Mike Bluestein and Chris Frazier. The last song from the tribute band before a very brief intermission was Jukebox Hero. I could hear the audience behind me singing along to the lyrics and feel them bumping into me on many occasions. It’s all worth it though – to be right in the front of it all, capturing images for you! Our goal is to make you feel like you were there, too!
Intermission seemed over before it started. Everyone stood at attention to greet Jones, Gramm, McDonald, Wills, Greenwood, and Elliott as they stepped on stage for their first show together since the 1980’s. I found it incredibly moving that they took us all the way back to 1976, to their debut album, and opened up with “Feels Like The First Time”. I do not believe that there was a seated person in the house at this point!
They transitioned quickly, keeping their excited audience on their feet with four more well-loved tracks:
“Double Vision”, “Blue Morning, Blue Day”, “Long, Long Way From Home”, “Dirty White Boy”
Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough…
Both generations, with the help of a gospel choir, put tears in our eyes with “I Want to Know What Love Is”.
And, last but not least – “Hot Blooded”
I believe this is a nod to reiterate that they STILL have it after all these years and we haven’t seen the last of these legends!!! There’s No End in Sight … pun INTENDED!
Foreigner is a hard rock band that was originally formed in New York City in 1976 by Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, and Ian McDonald. They went on to record 9 studio albums, including more than a dozen top-20 hits and six sequential multi-platinum albums in the 1970’s –and 1980’s. Foreigner is one of the top 40 best-selling bands of all time; they came in ahead of most of their rock peers – AC/DC, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Phil Collins, Queen, the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, the Who, to name a few.
Foreigner has produced some of rock and roll’s most lasting ballads. Their biggest hit “I Want to Know What Love Is”, was in 1984. Their poignant collection of tracks continues to rock the charts forty years later. Foreigner’s next album, “4”, made an impressive run at #1 on the Billboard charts. Their 5th album, “Agent Provocateur”, gave the world even more hits.
Mick Jones – co-founder
– has collaborated with beloved artists such as:
Eric Clapton – “Bad Love”, Ozzy Osbourne – “Dreamer”, Billy Joel – “Storm Front” and Van Halen – “5150””
– inducted to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame June 2013.
Lou Gramm – co-founder
– lead singer from 1976 to 2003; with the exception of a two-year break in the early 1990s
– inducted to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame June 2013.
Ian McDonald – co-founder
– multi-instrumentalist: predominantly a saxophonist; he also plays keyboards, flute, vibraphone and guitar
– released solo album: Drivers Eyes
Al Greenwood – co-founder
– keyboardist 1976 – 1980
– Grammy-nominated artist with over 70 songwriting credits
– Original Foreigner drummer: 1976 – 1993
– He went on to become a sculptor
– Original Foreigner bass guitarist: ~1979 – ~1993
– associations with the Small Faces, Peter Frampton and Bad Company.
Thankfully, Mick Jones continues to guide the band to new horizons.
He reformed Foreigner in 2002 with the help of Kelly Hansen, which inspired a brand new chapter for the band. Hansen has an impressive 35-year career that spans many musical influences. The other integral members are:
bassist – Jeff Pilson
multi-instrumentalist – Tom Gimbel
guitarist – Bruce Watson
keyboardist – Mike Bluestein
drummer – Chris Frazier
With vigor, Foreigner was once again on the Billboard charts when they released their “Greatest Hits, Extended Versions”, in 2005. This album was followed up with “Can’t Slow Down” in 2009 – which made it to the Billboard charts top 30. After which the band released a 3-disc set, “Feels Like the First Time”. This release included an acoustic CD, and re-working of many of the classics and a live performance DVD.
In the summer of 2015 Foreigner joined Kid Rock on his “Cheap Date: First Kiss Tour”.
2016 – Foreigner’s first ever live acoustic album “In Concert: Unplugged” (the album is available exclusively on Amazon). Foreigner recorded this unique acoustic album at a once-in-a-lifetime private concert hosted by Edsel B. Ford II on August 24, 2015 at the Ford Motor Company Conference & Event Center in Detroit, MI.
2017 – Foreigner’s 40th Anniversary Tour – the band played 40 shows in the US, with special guests: Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Prior to hitting the road, Foreigner released a double CD set “40”, which includes 40 songs recorded between 1977 and 2017. It also features new releases “Give My Life For Love” and a new version of “I Don’t Want To Live Without You”. This brilliant album lasted nine weeks on Billboard‘s Top 200.
I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings!