By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida-January 30, 2020
With the wave of 80s bands on tour, it is no wonder that Styx rolled into Clearwater, Florida, on a chilly Thursday evening. Performing in the newly renovated Ruth Eckerd Hall, people were being entertained at a small stage in the lobby by a local band, while mulling around the merch area. Many Generation X’ers were wearing concert t-shirts from the bands heyday, when songs like “Mr. Roboto” and “Renegade” dominated Top 40 radio.
At approximately 8 o’clock, the multi-Platinum rockers STYX, Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar), James “JY” Young (vocals, guitar), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucheran (drums), and Ricky Phillips (bass), hit the stage performing “Gone Gone Gone”, a song from their 16th studio album The Mission. The long-awaited album was released in 2017 after a 14-year recording hiatus.
If you have ever seen Styx, the band gives their all, as they are the consummate entertainers. Lawrence Gowan plays keyboards on a spinning platform and Tommy Shaw, Ricky Phillips, and James Young perform their “rock star stance”, walking around the stage, as the audience stood on their feet in approval. Many of the concert goers were holding up cell phones to capture the concert while others were dancing as Styx segued into one of my favorites “Blue Collar Man.”
The concert was in full-force by the time “The Grand Illusion” was performed, as Gowan plucked the keyboards while leaping backwards into the air, often placing one leg across the board. The atmosphere was almost circus-like, as frenetic activity scurried on the stage, as the band proved their live performances are true entertainment. Gazing upon Shaw, I was in wonder of his youthful appearance, as most of the audience members sported salt and pepper hair and caps covering bald spots. Nevertheless, everyone was catapulted back to their high school and college days, with music that sounded full and magical, in a venue whose acoustics are truly a gold standard.
You can see some photo highlights of the concert below:
Gone Gone Gone
Blue Collar Man
The Grand Illusion
Rockin’ the Paradise
Suite Madame Blue
Pieces of Eight
Too Much Time on My Hands
Come Sail Away