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Concert Review: Styx at The Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA

The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight Tour

Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Lowell, MA
November 3, 2010

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Reviewed by:  Roger Scales

What an amazing treat to witness Styx in New England playing arguably their best two albums (The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight) back to back (with a short intermission) in an intimate theater setting to an enthusiastic crowd ready for a night of classic rock n roll. With a constant touring schedule that keeps these guys out on the road for a good part of the year they still deliver a terrific live show that somehow never manages to get old.  Other than a few new faces, there is nothing about a Styx show in 2010 that would be any different from a Styx show in 1978.  I truly believe that is the intent of the band every night they hit the stage and judging by the crowd reaction in Lowell, that’s ok with them.

The night opened with The Grand Illusion (song and album) showcasing the multi- talented force that is Lawrence Gowan.   He has that unique ability to fuse constant energy with vocal brilliance and having now been in the band going on 12 years has established himself as one of the great showmen in rock.  Up next was “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” and now Tommy Shaw steps up on vocal duty and sings like a man half his age.  He added some superb guitar work here as well.  “Superstars” and “Come Sail Away” showcased some unique video screen displays that were running during most of the songs throughout the entire show.  In fact the band made it a point to use the word ALBUM and even had a flashback sequence to 1978 and a teenager in his room flipping through his records and finding The Grand Illusion and shows him placing it on the turntable.  Prior to “Miss America” Tommy even stopped to point out that they would now be playing songs off of side 2, reminding us all of how much records impacted our youth.  This track has James “JY” Young on lead vocals and is a really fun track with some memorable video shots of Old Glory – red white and blue we salute you!  Another highlight from the first set would include “Man in the Wilderness” with another great vocal from Tommy. He even talked a bit about first coming into Styx and the trials and troubles of being a young man thrust into the spotlight at such a young age and how he dealt with it.  “Castle Walls” showcased drummer Todd Sucherman and bassist Ricky Philips and their exceptional ability to play off each other so well and solidify themselves as one of the hottest rhythm sections of 2010.

After a brief intermission the band “changed the record” on the video screen and now we enter the Pieces of Eight  portion of the show and also some of my favorite tracks!  Starting with “Great White Hope” the band had to work extra hard to keep in time during these incredible 4 part harmonies.  The back to back tracks of “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” to “Queen of Spades” to crowd favorite “Renegade” were without question the highlight of the night for me.  They just flowed so well one right after the other and had me and the rest of the Styx fans chanting and singing with the band on cue. Whether it was Tommy and JY feeding off each other on one side of the stage, or Ricky ripping it up near Todd’s drum kit or the constant keyboard spins from Lawrence it was real tough to keep an eye on just one spot of the stage for the entire night. 

The night ended with a small tribute to John Lennon (on what would have been his 70th birthday early last month) by playing “I am the Walrus” from the Magical Mystery Tour album and closed the show with “Too Much Time On My Hands” complete with crowd claps during the chorus!!  If you have the chance to see this show do it!  If you think you’ve seen Styx enough over the past few years..the set is different and the songs are performed the way they were originally recorded and originally meant to be performed.  If you have not seen Styx recently..what the hell are you waiting for?

Set List:
The Grand Illusion
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Come Sail Away
Miss America
Man in the Wilderness
Castle Walls
The Grand Finale
Great White Hope
I’m Ok
Sing For the Day
The Message
Lords of the Ring
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
Queen of Spades
Pieces of Eight
I am the Walrus
Too Much Time on My Hands


For all the latest on Styx head over to their official website.

Styx Tour Dates:

Oct. 19, 2010 Chattanooga, TN The Tivoli Theatre
Oct. 21, 2010 Melbourne, FL King Center for Performing Arts
Oct. 22, 2010 Fort Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
Oct. 23, 2010 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
Oct. 25, 2010 Salem, VA Salem Civic Center
Oct. 27, 2010 Washington, DC Warner Theatre
Oct. 28, 2010 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
Oct. 29, 2010 Baltimore, MD he Hippodrome T
Oct. 30, 2010 Albany, NY Palace Theatre
Nov. 02, 2010 Bangor, ME Bangor Auditorium
Nov. 03, 2010 Lowell, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Nov. 05, 2010 Erie, PA Warner Theatre
Nov. 06, 2010 Toledo, OH The Stranahan Theater
Nov. 07, 2010 Louisville, KY The Louisville Palace Theatre
Nov. 09, 2010 Memphis, TN The Orpheum Theatre
Nov. 11, 2010 Nashville, TN The Ryman Auditorium
Nov. 12, 2010 Biloxi, MS Hard Rock Live
Nov. 13, 2010 Atlanta, GA Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center

Catch Styx on tour:

More Tour Dates:
Jan. 14, 2011 Wendover, NV Peppermill Concert Hall
Jan. 15, 2011 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno
Jan. 16, 2011 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
Jan. 19, 2011 Bakersfield, CA Majestic Fox Theatre
Jan. 20, 2011 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
Jan. 22, 2011 Temecula, CA Pechanga Resort & Casino


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3 Responses to “Concert Review: Styx at The Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, MA”
  1. Susan K. says:

    Aww I really wish I went. I KNEW you’d be there!

  2. Maureen says:

    I never miss a Styx show when they tour New England. It amazes me that they sound so tight after all these years.

    The whole band has such great stage presence. You can tell they really enjoy being there to entertain us. Looking forward to my next show. Thanks for coming to Lowell-we loved you!


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  1. Amanda Cagan says:

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