Concert review: A night of rock nostalgia with Styx, Foreigner, and John Waite | 06.18.24, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (with photo gallery)

Photo of Kelly Hansen of Foreigner by Laura Tucker

On Tuesday night, the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre was bursting at the seams with fans of the music that we grew up with. Foreigner and Styx t-shirts adorned many of the spectators in attendance for the Renegades and Juke Box Heroes Tour. Some came for the third act, John Waite. I am one of those. Not that I don’t have respect for the aforementioned bands, believe me, I do. But seeing John Waite felt more like a rare opportunity somehow. Also, if you’re a purist, you feel as though Foreigner without Lou Gramm and Styx without Dennis DeYoung is like Journey without Steve Perry. You can tell me a hundred times over how the not-so-new guy is just as good. I’m still not here for it. So, how did this all turn out….

The night began with John Waite taking the stage at 7:00 pm. When I left my house, I thought the sun would be setting and the night would be a bit more forgiving than it was. I can’t help but feel bad for the performers who grace our city in the summer, wearing long sleeves or jackets, possibly unaware of the humidity. It was hot but the fans here are used to it and it had little to no effect on them. As for the performers, let’s just say—they were treated to a free sauna.

John Waite was greeted with the adoration deserving of an icon. Can I call him that? His career spans the ’70s with The Babys, the ’80s as an MTV solo fixture, and the ’90s with Bad English, each leaving an indelible mark on our generation. His unmistakable vocals are instantly recognizable as he sings “Midnight Rendezvous,” “Missing You,” and “When I See You Smile.” He seems as glad to see us and we are to see him. The crowd was gracious as the now older version of this special guest performed and sang along to all the words.  On Setlist.FM, I noticed pre-show that he alternates songs on this tour. Some cities get “Every Time I Think of You,” but we, unfortunately, did not. He was seemingly happy about the treatment he received here as he wrapped up his set with a standing ovation.

By 8:00 pm, the sun was beginning to set but was right at the level where it seeps into the amphitheater as it makes one last attempt to give us a little sunburn. Foreigner was introduced and it was nothing but pure entertainment from that moment on. They came out with the attitude and vigor of the rock stars they are, jumping, spinning, and playing their hearts out. I will be the first to admit, if not apologize, for my lack of faith. They sounded incredible. They started with “Double Vision” and the audience was engaged immediately. Following it up with hits like “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” and “Juke Box Hero,” they gave the audience what they came for. As the sun settled into the night, lead singer Kelly Hansen, who joined the band in 2005, could be spotted on a mini stage above the soundboards. The show just keeps getting better. Towards the end, they welcomed a local youth choir onstage with them for “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” the anthem that has taken hold of a new generation. One woman told me that her daughters were crazy about this song after discovering it. I love that. I love how music transcends age and time, as it should. As they performed this melody for the massive, nearly sold-out audience, as cell phones lit and swayed in time, the lawn became a giant wave of white dots. The show was great and the vibe was beautiful.

By 9:35, I found myself pumped for the one-of-a-kind sound of Styx. Again, the lack of the previous frontman didn’t deter me or anyone else from having an amazing experience. Original member, guitarist, Tommy Shaw came out and looks pretty much the same as he always did. The years have been extremely kind to him. They swooned us with “The Grand Illusion” to start the night. I couldn’t help but recognize the poignancy of the lyrics in today’s society. Talk about a grand illusion. The words seem almost prophetic now. The energy was high and the sound, spot on! They followed it up with “Lady,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” and “Lorelei,” one of my personal favorites. This not-so-new guy, Lawrence Gowan, was spinning his keyboard around in a circle and each member was giving it their all for our enjoyment.

Another original member, guitarist James “JY” Young, is still a fixture of the band. And tonight, a special appearance by the original Styx bassist, Chuck Panozzo, was a highlight for some. The one song they never play live, or so I have heard, is “Babe,”  And they didn’t, ending the night instead with “Come Sail Away” and “Mr. Roboto.” I always thought he was credited with the demise of the group but apparently, Kilroy lives on.

I learned a valuable lesson tonight. Taking a trip back to yesteryear with some new faces can be a rewarding experience and fans just want to hear the music that made a mark on their lives. | Laura Tucker


  1. Thank you sooooooooo much For your phenomenal review! We will be in Anaheim, California this Friday to see John Waite And I will be wearing my John Waite T-shirt. There is something in his voice that is rare & magical. I guess people know the babies and they know bad English, but they don’t always know his name. It’s a shame because he should be in the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame and he is a legend! Great job on a great review! There are a lot of us out here. They feel exactly the same.

  2. I have seen all three of these acts, albeit separately, in the past year. All were spectacular. John Waite is a classic and his wonderfully unique voice still holds up, and his songs/material always satisfy and move you. Missing You, say what you will, is simply one of the best pop songs ever written the way is haunts and walks along. Foreigner has an astounding amount of hits that are just excellently written rock and roll songs by Mick Jones, with help from Lou Gramm and Al Greenwood. Yes, since Mick got too sick to tour now there are no original members. We get it. But Kelly Hanson has been with the band for 20 years and has no played more shows and been touring with the band more years than ever did. Lou is Lou and created the manic and he is awesome, but his voice is now a bit rough and he isn’t capable of fronting a powerhouse rock band like Kelly can. Kelly is an absolute powerhouse vocalist, with a voice very reminiscent of Lou’s, but his own and he is an amazing entertaining front man. Styx is another just iconic band and Tommy Shaw is a seemingly timeless legend. His amazingly high soaring voice hasn’t waivers, and his and JY’s guitar playing, especially together, are simply still world class. Todd on drums is one of the best rock players in the world, period. My only criticism of Styx is that the over the top showmanship and spinning keyboard routine of Lawrence Gowan just gets too much and is not fitting of a great rock and roll band IMO. The guy is very talented but he could dial it back a bit. You would not go wrong by going to see this triple header if it should come to your town!

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