Playing amid mild temperatures and regaling a sold-out crowd, classic rock’s Foreigner delivered the outdoor amphitheater’s final punch of summer on Sunday. The review, photos and set list.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mick Jones, guitarist and founding member of Foreigner, didn’t perform with the band for Sunday’s concert. Scroll down for photo gallery, set list.
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
It was “rock riff redux” courtesy of Foreigner at Sunday’s season-closing concert at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Again and again, the classic rock band’s rhythmic guitar echoed over the sold-out crowd. From the opening “Double Vision” to their encore-closer “Hot Blooded,” the players proved that any song you can recognize from the opening chords has already made its imprint.
That’s the way it goes with so many of Foreigner’s memorable songs, cranked out by primary lead guitarist Bruce Watson with plenty of support, especially fellow guitarists Jeff Pilson and newcomer Luis Maldonado.
Just over 90 minutes of rocking anthems on the evening, with a couple of change-of-pace ballads in the mix.
The effervescent Pilson also contributed some keyboards, furnishing the classic riff at the top of “Cold As Ice.” This send-up was one of several concert highlights.
After the opening verses, lead singer Kelly Hansen lovingly held on to the song’s slower vocal bridge, while the players converged for a big extended final chorus that was satisfying right down to the last note.
Band members took advantage of the wide amphitheater stage, swirling and darting around each other, with Hansen often carrying the microphone stand right along with him.
Pilson remained on keys for their first ballad of the evening, “Waiting For a Girl Like You.”
At the song’s conclusion Hansen remarked, “It’s nice to have someone in life waiting for you.”
“If you don’t, you might have a ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day,’” which, of course, was the title of their next song.
ENGAGED SOLD-OUT CROWD AND A HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR WARM-UP
The audience was on its feet much of the evening, and fans on the level area close to the stage stood the entire show.
The band went back to its 1977 debut album for “Feels Like The First Time,” another song with a melody wrapped around rock riffs and thumping bass which trademark the Foreigner sound.
Keyboard/synth player Michael Bluestein teamed with drummer Chris Frazier for an instrumental segment which included electronic effects and an explosion of sounds, and a drum solo which touched all the percussive bases.
Earlier, Bluestein had trotted out with a “keytar” (combination guitar and keyboard), and was featured on the rocker “Urgent.”
The players closed their set with the ultimate salute to would-be rock guitarists everywhere, “Juke Box Hero.” Guitars on parade for this one, with Pilson, Watson and Maldonado taking their turn on leads (and Pilson actually turned his guitar upside down while playing).
The anticipated encore began with “Long, Long Way From Home.” It was then that Hansen stepped into a choir director role, coaxing a ready audience to sing the chorus for “I Want to Know What Love Is,” their other chief ballad.
“You warm our hearts,” he said gratefully. “And you make us ‘Hot Blooded.’”
Cue the final song’s rock riffs as the sound of multiple guitars filled the amphitheatre and beyond at a fever pitch.
Opening the evening was the Madrigal choral group from South Christian High School in Byron Center. The ensemble of nearly two dozen student voices performed three a capella songs, including a version of Michael Buble’s “Everything” and the African folk song “Siyahamba.”
The concert concluded the amphitheater’s active summer schedule which garnered strong attendance numbers — and dozens of sellouts — following two COVID-affected seasons.
PHOTO GALLERY: Foreigner, South Christian Choir at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
1. Double Vision
2. Head Games
3. Cold As Ice
4. Waiting for a Girl Like You
5. Blue Morning, Blue Day
6. Dirty White Boy
7. Feels Like the First Time
9. (Keyboard/Drum instrumental solo)
10. Juke Box Hero
11. Long, Long Way From Home
12. I Want to Know What Love Is
13. Hot Blooded
Copyright 2022, Spins on Music LLC