|Styx 'One With Everything'
By Shaun Suhoski
Yeah, yeah. Styx at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.
Well, for about 2,500 fans of the classic rock act, including this unabashed fan and columnist, it was a big deal, turning the venue into a resurrected "Paradise Theatre" last Thursday night.
Although the crowd looked older than I remember back in the day (when parachute pants and mullet hairstyles were the thang), a decidedly upbeat performance by Styx transformed the familial gathering into so many Dorian Grays.
With no opening act cutting into the schedule, and a very accessible stage set-up, the band was brought into communion with its fans. Having, ah, too much time on their hands, the current version of Styx (without Dennis DeYoung, but with energized James "JY" Young and ever-youthful Tommy Shaw) dug deep into the band's catalog of tunes in a nearly two-hour set.
Sure, they played the hits everyone knows ("Come Sail Away," "Lady," "Too Much Time on My Hands," "Renegade," "Blue Collar Man"), but they also enthralled fans with sweet album cuts ("Grand Illusion," "Crystal Ball," "Foolin' Yourself," "Snowblind.")
Perhaps most impressive was the epochal "One With Everything" off the 2003 "Cyclorama" album, with its big, resolving choruses, syncopated organ chops by Lawrence Gowan, and tasteful movements denoted by hiccups in the time signature. Simply put, it was awesome stuff.
The band also paid homage to its early music - and true Stygians - with a medley concocted by drummer Todd Sucherman, dubbed the "Cyclo-medley," that included snippets of 18 classic tunes (this columnist got 17 of 'em, foiled by whatever came immediately following the "Light Up" intro).
Real fans would appreciate the nods given to such nuggets as "Mademoiselle," "Shooz," "Queen of Spades," "Half-Penny Two-Penny" (with terrific drum fills) and the mysterious "Castle Walls." Plus, I hadn't heard "Man In The Wilderness" since my "Grand Illusion" album (yep, it was vinyl, and it was my first ever) disappeared back in junior high school.
The crowd was also very responsive to the appearance of original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who is battling AIDS, for several tunes towards the end of the show. Current bassist Ricky Phillips graciously steered clear of the spotlight in favor of Panozzo's presence.
Following a confetti-filled closing with "Come Sail Away," the band's signature anthem, and the rocking encore of "Renegade,"
all six members of Styx made their curtain call and peace with their fans.