CAMDEN, NJ—On a balmy Fourth of July evening Styx came out with a visually appealing, simple stage setup, they opened up with a loud and powerful version of “Blue Collar Man” that energized the crowd. The videos playing behind the band added welcome accents to the experience.

During “Too Much Time On My Hands,” an audience participation hit, drummer Todd Sucherman shined along with Tommy Shaw, who posed while James Young hammed it up on guitar. Classic songs like “Lorelei,” “Man In The Wilderness” and “Crystal Ball” gave the people what they wanted. Founding bassist Chuck Panozzo came out for an inspiring version of “Fooling Yourself.” He continues his battle against AIDS and prostate cancer. Both the audience and band seemed to get a charge out of his appearance.

Styx performed a stirring rendition of “Come Sail Away,” which was uplifting and completely different from any version I’ve heard before, and ended the show with the mega hit “Renegade.”

Yes came out on stage to the song “Tempus Fugit,” appropriate considering this tour featured the return of keyboardist Geoff Downes, who famously played on 1980’s Drama. “Yours Is No Disgrace” was up next and guitarist Steve Howe was in rare form. Most of the night he played two guitars one after the other, sometimes having one on the stand ready and sometimes having both on his person, it was interesting to see for sure.

Downes really shined on “Heart Of The Sunrise.” He had three different layers of keyboards and pianos. Singer Benoît David seemed to struggle towards the end of the song where it seemed like he had maxed out his voice momentarily.

David recovered nicely to help create a very memorable rendition of “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Squire, who was front and center, joked about “how it only took 10 years” to put out the new album, Fly From Here, and a new song was played much to the delight of the packed house.

“And You And I” struck a chord with the crowd. Drummer extraordinaire Alan White provided his usual array of stunning percussion instruments while Howe broke out the steel guitar. Howe confessed that he really enjoys playing “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” a song that the band wrote while and Downes were in Asia.

“Roundabout” turned out to be the first encore, which was a bit of a surprise. Howe, rocked a classic Gibson and when the band left the stage everyone in the crowd was wondering what from their massive catalogue the band would play next. It turned out to be “Starship Trooper,” Squire really plucked hard and strong during and David broke out a rythym guitar. But the biggest applause came after Downes broke out the keytar and totally rocked the crowd, front and center.

Both bands brought some great energy and an amazing array of hits making this a memorable double bill.

 

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