Concert Reviews

Styx with Joan Jett and Tesla at the Budweiser Stage

A full blown heat wave engulfed the great city of Toronto. That certainly didn’t stop eager fans from heading down towards the waterfront for a night of great music. Performing at the Budweiser Stage was Tesla, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Styx.

At 7:00pm sharp Tesla started their set. It’s kind of to bad because the crowed was just starting to trickle into the venue. The attendance at that point was sporadic. One thing about this city during summer, it’s difficult getting around in a timely manner. I suspect people where coming from work considering it was on a Thursday night. This lack of attendance certainly didn’t alter their enthusiasm. They came out with Axes blazing and huge smiles on their face. (Well except for bassist Brian Wheat, but I think that is his “shtick”) They performed a 50 minute set, jam packed with fan favorites such as Modern Day Cowboy, Little Suzie, No Way Out and Signs. On the backdrop of their set was a sign stating it was their 30th year anniversary. It felt like yesterday that I was playing their album Great Radio Controversy on a constant loop. It was great reliving my former teenage self for a bit.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts where up next. I’m a little puzzled as to why she does’t permit photographers at her shows. There is speculation that she isn’t secure with her aged looks, but the fact of the matter is she looks amazing, and fit to boot, with a toned body. At one point they performed a song called TMI. (To much information) The lyrics suggested with the digital era and social media dominating the masses, that there was just to much stuff being shared. There was a video in the background showing girls taking selfies. Then it kind of dawned on me, maybe it’s simply a statement. Who knows.

They performed the song You Drive Me Wild, which happens to be the very first song she has ever written when she was with the Runaways.

She spoke about when she acted in the movie Light of Day along side with Michael J Fox, and proceded to play the titled track.

The keyboardist spoke about how he and Joan started the Blackhearts. No one wanted to sign them with Joan doing double duty of guitar and vocals, so they started their own label and have reaped the rewards from their success.

The fan favorite was I love Rock and Roll. At that point the crowd finally jumped to their feet. They also performed Crimson and Clover and had the crowd signing along.

After an eclectic mix of music genres supporting Styx, it was their time to shine. The inception of this band was the year I was born! So they have certainly been around the bend and back, producing hits like Come Sail Away, To Much Time on my Hands and of course Mr Roboto, which I might add, they performed that song for the first time in 10 years on this tour.

Larry Gowan had the most energy of the bunch, dancing, and spinning around while playing his keyboard. Midway through the set the stage emptied leaving Gowan on his own in the spotlight. He had some fun and interesting stories to share which had the audience in stitches. He spoke  about not stealing music via streaming…that there should be an overcoat involved and a record store… as if saying he may or may not have collected a few pieces of vinyl at Sam the Record Man that way. That was a great segway into the song Criminal Mind. He teased the audience with the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody cutting it short of the heavy part. He snickered in amusement.

The band returned to the stage and guitarist James Young referred to Gowan as Toronto’s native son.

Just before the song Sweet Madame Blue, James spoke about how Styx had Canada to thank for their success. The Canucks made that particular song a hit before it took off anywhere else in the world.

During the show they had a special guest appearance from their original bassist Charles Panozzo, whom was there at the very beginning of Styx, while they practiced in the basement. They performed Fooling Yourself.

This classic Rock band didn’t disappoint. A fantastic evening entertained by seasoned musicians who looked like they enjoyed sharing their craft with the world. A show I was happy to have seen, along with the 15000 others in attendance.

About author

Photojournalist at Live in Limbo.