STYX stll solid in 2012
By Renegade 2012 from Fort Worth, Texas on 1/15/2012
Crowd Was In To It, Engaging Stage Presence
As a veteren of dozens of STYX shows, there performance at Billy Bob's Saturday night was as good as I expected, and offered a couple of surprises. The current line up of Tommy Shaw (guitar vocals), James (JY) Young guitar vocals), Laurance Gowan (key board, vocals), Ricky Philips (bass) and Todd Sucherman (drums)seem to be a tight group of players, and seem to work well together on stage, which wasn't always the case when the band featured Dennis DeYoung on keyboards and vocals. This group is without a doubt a working band, and has started to develope a hard core fan bass that has connected with this group of guys and see them time and time again. No one in the group seated near me had seen the band less than a dozen time and one woman was watching her 87th show, while when Tommy Shaw asked the crowd how many people were seeing STYX for the first time the applause was very scattered.
With their loyal fan bass in place the band hit the stage with Blue collar Man, and preformed hit after hit with the energy of twenty years ago, and the precision the years have given them. After playing songs like Renegade night after night for thousands of shows, it is amazing how the guys keep it and all the other tunes fresh, not only last night but every night they play.
Shaw's voice is till great, and while Gowan is no DeYoung (no one is) he does an adiquate job with vocals on lady, Madame Blue, etc. JY has fun with Miss America, Snowblind, and last night did a great job singing Loelei. Ricky Philips is a good bass player who doesn't stand in the back ground and peck away on his bass. He is an active participant in the over all show and seems to be well liked by his band mates. Todd Sucherman's drumming is simply excellent. Part of the reason for the loyal following may be that these guys are all likeable and while there has to be egoes on the stage they aren't apparent.
My over all advice about seeing this band is if they are head lining they are a can't miss show. If they open for another band like Reo Speedwagon, they are still pretty good. I have found though that in three band line ups, if they are the opener, they seem to be less attractive, perhaps due to less time on stage and the crowd waiting for the head liner. Another time I would be less enthusiastic about their show is at out door venues when it is very hot. JY seems to struggle in the heat, and you can usually judge how a STYX show will go by how JY seems to feel. If he is having a good time on stage they are great. If he isn't so sharp the rest of the guys seem to follow. Over all go see these guys, and then go see them again. They are still great, and unlike many bands, they are playing some where over 100 days a year.