Live in Raleigh
Coastal Credit Union Music Park
August 11, 2023 Review by M.B. Edwards
Urgent! Foreigner landed in Raleigh, NC with The Historic Farewell Tour and left us feeling “Hot Blooded” – you know, that pulse-pounding passion that only true rock legends can entice from the depths of your soul. They are definitely giving their fans one hell of a last hoorah during this tour.
As I waited for support act Loverboy to take the stage, I saw The Shriners Hospital – a favorite charity of Foreigner for many years now – was onsite and accepting donations in return for a chance to win a signed guitar. Back in 2019, Foreigner created a music video with Shriners and donated their hit song, “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and all its proceeds to the organization. But Foreigner is so gracious, they didn’t stop there; they also put together a live version of their greatest hits with all the proceeds going to Shriners Hospitals.
It was time for the music and slowly, one at a time, the members of Loverboy took the stage with front-man Mike Reno coming out last. Despite being almost 70 years old, Reno’s voice sounded just as fantastic as it did back in the ‘80s when Loverboy’s music videos were dominating MTV.
They started their set with “Notorious” and then “Lucky Ones.” Blue and purple lights illuminated the stage and a curtain with both band names provided a warm backdrop. Spider (bassist Ken Sinnaeve) and Paul Dean (guitarist) moved in unison while they played and Spider was killing it. Then Matt Frenette (drummer) stood up on his chair, bent over his drums in what had to be the most uncomfortable squatting position, and started going to town on the cymbals and hi-hats in an unbelievable display of flair.
Reno said he wanted to take us back and played “The Kid Is Hot Tonite,” which he said was their first song played on the radio. “Heaven in Your Eyes” from the “Top Gun” soundtrack was next. When “Lovin’ Every Minute of It” was played, the crowd all sang along. Reno joked that people often forget they play that song. He had all the girls in the audience screaming before they played “Hot Girls in Love.”
Before their last song, Reno said they received the oddest call they’ve ever heard. Christopher Walken was on the other line and told them to play more cowbell! With a few knocks on the cowbell, “Working for the Weekend” got people dancing and singing as Loverboy closed out their set.
While we waited for the stage to get prepared for Foreigner, fans were talking and reliving their youthful days of listening to the band. The venue finally turned on the powerful overhead fans in the pavilion, bringing some cool air to the crowd, and everyone shouted in happiness I would think those on the lawn thought the band had come out. But when Foreigner did take the stage, there was no denying it. Their energy exceeded some – most if I’m being honest – of the younger bands today.
Fog sprayed across the stage, and “Double Vision” fired through the speakers. Front-man Kelly Hansen ran out to the stage, carrying the mic stand and flipping it around. Guitarists Bruce Watson and Luis Maldanado were smiling, dancing, and moving about the stage as they played, switching from one side to the other. Due to a recent back injury, bassist Jeff Pilson sat on a stool, except for a few entertaining times where he was being raced across the stage in a wheelchair with exhaust fog spraying out the back.
Hansen reached down and touched the hands of some lucky fans in the front row during “Head Games.” There was a hilarious moment when Hansen gave kudos to the videographer who realized quite quickly that he had to pan up when Hansen went to the edge of the stage so that Hansen’s crotch wasn’t displayed all over the big screen. Of course Hansen had to demonstrate what that would look like if the videographer failed to act fast. That got the women in the audience excited and they all screamed.
He dedicated “Dirty White Boy” to all the ladies out there who want a naughty partner in their life before jokingly saying, “I’ve got so much work to do and I’m not as youthful as I used to be.”
Prior to the acoustic portion of the night, Hansen made it a point to tell everyone that what they are hearing tonight is being played and sung live, saying there is no “computer bullshit” and “We are old school just like you.” They played “When it Comes to Love,” “Girl on the Moon,” and “Say You Will” without all the extra bells and whistles.
Since they were all sitting on the stools, Hansen took this time to recognize each of the members in the band (minus Mick Jones who wasn’t able to make this night due to health issues). When introducing “The Magician” (Maldanado), Hansen said if you “look deep into those eyes you will see a thousand years of rhythm and harmony and groove” plus, “a little bit of sexual arousal.”
He said if you know Bruce Watson well enough, “you can shit on his bus,” which is apparently an inside joke. We were told that Michael Bluestein is about to become a first-time daddy. When doing introductions on Hansen, they said some bands have a great front-man and some have a great singer, but they are lucky enough to have both when it comes to Hansen, and it also doesn’t hurt that he knows how to cook.
Bluestein, being the only one onstage, performed a beautiful solo while an incredible light show complimented his performance. Drummer Chris Frazier showed off his remarkable talents with his own drum solo. A couple of false endings to the solo showed Frazier with his hand straight up in the air holding a drum stick, becoming an extension of his arm, the perfect picture of a drummer. The speed at which he can tap the drums is impressive. He abruptly threw his drum sticks in to the audience before pulling out the mallet for a theatrical strike on the gong which was perfectly timed with the drop of the curtain revealing a larger-than-like jukebox image.
The crowd had been so enthralled watching the drummer and keyboardist that they didn’t notice Hansen being raised high into the air for the start of “Juke Box Hero.” Once a few fans started screaming, it didn’t take long for everyone’s attention to move to the middle of the venue where Hansen was singing. He walked past us and kept his gaze set upon his destination so as to not cause a chaotic meltdown for security should someone happen to lock eyes with him.
Before they all left the stage, Pilson was once again racing across the stage in the souped-up wheelchair, his hair blowing in the wind. Before the encore, the lighted arm beams were joined together to create the album cover of “4,” changing colors from green to orange, to red, purple and then blue during “I Want to Know What Love Is.” The last song during the encore was “Hot Blooded” and fire rained from behind the members every time the words “hot blooded” were spoken. Once the song was over, they all stepped towards the front of the stage and took a well-deserved bow.
After the show, I heard people say how much energy the band had tonight and how good it felt to be able to see them once more.
The tour runs through March of 2024 and will cover almost all of the US. SoCal residents can catch them at FivePoint Amphitheatre on August 21st. Foreigner is not out of energy and are going out in true rock n’ roll style, giving fans a little taste of everything that made them and kept them legends of rock.
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By Jed Gammon Photography
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SUID 230815 | TRACI TURNER, EDITOR