Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Foreigner

Because We Know All the Words
Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA

It is beyond me why Foreigner is playing at the 2800-seat Paramount Theater. They're great and all, but believe me when I tell you that they played the Lake of Torches Casino last month. I suppose the challenge of filling this large venue is why I my friend and I are here for a total of five dollars.

IMG_3531The crowd is far more diverse than I expected. Walking through the lobby I spot a 10-year old girl with her mom, two punk teenagers with bright pink hair, several Tukwila rocker chicks, a handlebar mustachioed biker guy, and a pack of well-scrubbed technology workers. 80s anthems: they unite us in a way that can be matched only by natural disasters. As broad as the age range is here in the lobby, the real indicator of the advancing median age of the audience can be found in the Foreigner onesies for sale at the merch table.

IMG_3548We settle into our excellent balcony seats next to a lovely couple. The fellow sings for a band called Temperedcast, and he is VERY excited to be here seeing Foreigner, particularly since Jason Bonham is on drums. Always the bridesmaid, Jason continues to ride on his dad's reputation from Led Zeppelin as the band carts out the Zep medley ("let's help Jason send a message to his father!") and a cover of Misty Mountain Hop, which I suddenly realize has the same guitar riff as Uncontrollable Urge by Devo and YES I understand that I am the last person on earth to figure this out. People in the audience scream BONHAM! when Jason is introduced.

Mick Jones' introduction of the band concludes with lead singer Kelly Hansen. The Temperedcast guy next to me is shocked. Wait - the lead singer isn't he original guy? Uh, no, the original guy is off playing Christian rock at a SUNY Brockport Alumni Function. Kelly Hansen sounds astonishingly like Lou Gramm circa 1984. I find it interesting to note that Kelly is not permitted to speak - only to sing. As the hired gun, he is not afforded a persona outside of singing the Foreigner songs, just like how the handlers do the talking for Mickey and Goofy when you meet them at Disney World.

IMG_3486Down on the floor Mick encourages people to get out of their cushy seats and come to the front of the stage. I've been keeping my eye on a rocker chick down there wearing a tight red and black mini-dress and sparkly black heels (I see her later in the bathroom). She dutifully shakes her bleached hair and tries to discreetly distance herself from her lunkhead boyfriend. While she stays put, a bolder version of her manages to get on stage and dance for about ten seconds before being ushered off by a giant security guy.

IMG_3534My friend notes that the older members of the band must have doctor consults seared into their psyches. They do what they can to maintain an erect posture and rock out at the same time, resulting in an awkward robot sway from side to side with their instruments. This does not diminish their tried and true rocking out-ness, however. Foreigner sticks to the hits, keeps the banter to a minimum, and delivers to a T the energetic show that casino audiences the world over have come to expect.


Fanalyst Rating

Fashion: ***
Scene: *
Band to Audience Rapport: ***
Audience Focus: ***

More photos from the show

[P.S. This is my 100th review since beginning the blog in June 2004. Woo.]

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