By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Review: Styx at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Tampa, Florida–Crash the Crown Tour-August 5, 2021
As the concert landscape gradually returns to normal, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida, is leading the way with a steady stream of live acts, many of whom are established performers with loyal fanbases.
It’s interesting that, within the course of the last month, two such acts found their way to the Clearwater venue with similar backgrounds–chart titans in the late 70s/early 80s,both originally from Chicago/northern Illinois. The first was REO Speedwagon, who barely two weeks ago put on display its rich catalog of heartland rock and pop hits to an appreciative audience.
And the most recent was Styx, who brought on Thursday evening its widely known and loved repertoire of arena, progressive, and popular rock. Fronted by longtime members Tommy Shaw and James Young, the band showed why its music and showmanship continue to draw capacity audiences.
The concert, performed in a sold-out hall, began with “The Fight of Our Lives”, a new song from the band’s 17th studio album,The Crash of the Crown. The release hit the streets June 18th on the band’s label Alpha Dog 2T/Ume, and followers of Styx’s early work will notice a return to their progressive rock roots.
The evening continued with many beloved classic rock hits like “Lady”, “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”, and “Rockin’ the Paradise,” which had the crowd on its feet dancing.
Shaw told the audience “We haven’t played this is a long time—and I don’t know why” before performing “Man in the Wilderness” from the Grand Illusion album. A well-received “Too Much Time on My Hands” had the audience singing along before segueing to perhaps my favorite of the evening “Suite Madame Blue”. Shaw’s voice soared and the harmonies between band members were mesmerizing.
After a short intermission, Styx performed a mix of classics and new songs like the lovely acoustic-driven “Sound the Alarm” and the rock-opera, Queen-ish song “Crash of the Crown”. Original bassist and founding member Chuck Panozzo made a guest appearance on the compelling “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”.
The Styx concert did not disappoint—great classics, plenty of showmanship, and a fantastic introduction to their new release The Crash of the Crown, which proves the band’s songwriting (guitarist Will Evankovich majorly contributed) and vocal prowess have not faltered through time. The vocals of Shaw and Lawrence Gowan, the familiar harmonies, and synth/mellotron riffs—all hallmarks of the classic Styx sound—were all on display. Catch Styx in concert if they cruise (or “Sail”) into your town—and by all means, check out their new album.
Set List: The Fight of Our Lives, Blue Collar Man (Long Nights), The Grand Illusion, Lady, Reveries, Light Up, Rockin’ the Paradise, Man in the Wilderness, Too Much Time on My Hands, Suite Madame Blue–Intermission–Red Storm, Miss America, Sound the Alarm, Crystal Ball, Crash of the Crown, Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man), Khedive, Lost at Sea, Come Sail Away-ENCORE–Mr. Roboto, Renegade
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