(Foreigner fan George Nagel sent us the following as a YOU BE THE CRITIC review. Foreigner performed at the Alaska State Fair on Aug. 22.)
I have seen Foreigner on TV a couple of times in recent years. They sounded great. Their current singer, Kelly Hansen, sounds every bit as good as original singer Lou Gramm. And most importantly, Mick Jones—lead guitarist, chief songwriter, the man who founded Foreigner--was still in the band. Damn right I bought a ticket for their concert at the Alaska State Fair.
I probably wouldn’t have purchased that ticket if I had known that Mick Jones wasn’t going to be there. (By the way, how can they call themselves Foreigner if the band doesn’t include any original members?) But all that aside, this version of Foreigner put on a very good show on Thursday evening.
They played 13 of their well-known hits in a show that lasted over an hour and a half. The crowd sang along all night. And stood all night. While it rained all night. As the singer told us, the band was duly impressed by these stalwart Alaska fans.
The keyboard solo was good. The drum solo wasn’t, and went on too long. The guitar solo was good, but wasn’t loud enough, and I’m not the only patron who felt that way. In fact, from where I was sitting (far stage left, halfway back) the sound mix was problematical for the whole show. The singing, including melodious background vocals, came through fine. But when the singer spoke to the crowd his words were mostly unintelligible (not helped at all by the many fans who were talking at the same time; come on, people). There is a unique bass line in the recorded version of “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” I don’t think the bass player played it on Thursday night, but I’m not sure because the bass wasn’t clear in the mix.
Yet I’d have to rate the sound, overall, as good. The extended saxophone solo in “Urgent” was excellent. Another highlight was a (local) high school choir joining the band onstage to sing “I Want to Know What Love Is.” But even their added voices weren’t enough to drown out the singing of an entire audience of Alaskan Foreigner fans.
Thank you, Foreigner, for coming back to Alaska. But bring Mick Jones next time.