Tag: Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live
Eagle Rock Entertainment
8 out of 10
STYX puts on one hell of a live show. They have more hits than you might think, and when they do a standard ‘greatest hits’ show, you are blown away not only by how many hits they’ve had, but by the sheer musicianship and epic songwriting skills the Chicago Prog Rock band has. Yes I said Prog Rock. They may not be as spacey as Pink Floyd or as intricate as Rush, but they were one of the greatest Prog Rock bands of the 70’s.
The Grand Illusion was released in 1977 and is still their best selling album (according to them). The songwriting on this opus ranges from grandiose and bombastic to sheer brilliance. The opening title track The Grand Illusion shows off their writing skills as much as it does their musicianship and it is one hell of a way to open an album let alone a live show. Flowing right into Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) the crowd is on their feet rocking out and transported back to a time where huge epic songs ruled the airwaves and the charts.
The show starts out with a video screen showing an homage to the Star Wars opening in space with the yellow letters taking us back to 1977. It then cuts to a young man’s bedroom where he is shuffling through his stack of LPs (you remember those right? Vinyl baby, old school!), until he finds The Grand Illusion. He puts it on the turn table, grabs his head phones, and the band kick into the intro to The Grand Illusion.
The hits just keep on coming with Come Sail Away and Miss America. With Castle Walls being an amazing stand out live, you tend to forget what an incredible album The Grand Illusion was from beginning to end until it is right there in your face.
After a short intermission, we go back to the video and the young man putting Pieces Of Eight on. The second half of the concert is really for the old school STYX fans. While Pieces Of Eight has its hits like Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) and the perennial Renegade, the rest of the album may not be as familiar to the radio fans of STYX.
STYX released Pieces Of Eight in 1978 marking a very prolific time in the history of STYX. Once The Grand Illusion took off, it rocketed the band from the clubs, to opening for KANSAS, to headlining Arenas before they took a short break to record and release Pieces Of Eight.
I’ve seen STYX live at least 5 times over as many years, though I missed this particular tour unfortunately. They are consummate musicians and throw a great party when they are on stage. And to take two albums, dust off songs that they have never played live before, and put them out there thirty some odd years later, and be as entertaining as they are is no mean feat.
The music comes across great in this Blu Ray release and the surround sound will give you goose bumps at times when they go into Castle Walls, Renegade, or Miss America. The camera work was a little annoying however, in that every third shot was out of focus! At first I thought I was imagining it, and then I thought maybe they were trying to be artsy with it. Then I realized, the camera men were simply shooting it out of focus most of the time. Other than the video editing and camera work, it is definitely a must have for the hard core STYX fans. And if you are only a radio fan of STYX, this is a great place to start to learn more about them, where their music came from, and why 30 plus years later they are STILL all over Classic Rock stations around the world.
You can purchase STYX: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live right here.