January 26, 2018
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Andy Laudano
2018 got off to a great start when former Styx vocalist, Dennis DeYoung and Night Ranger graced the stage of Grand Prairie's Verizon Theatre. This was a killer double bill featuring two headline acts with a ton of hit songs between them. If you're a hard rock fan, a good chunk of the soundtrack to your lives came from these two bands.
First up was Night Ranger, celebrating their 35th anniversary. You'd never know it though from watching the band's high energy performance! After all those years the band looked to still be having the time of their lives onstage, constantly smiling, joking around and having fun with each other. Most importantly, they still sound amazing! The set featured all the big hits you'd expect to hear, including "Four In The Morning," When You Close Your Eyes," "Sing Me Away" and "Goodbye" but there were plenty of other surprises thrown in.
Bassist/vocalist Jack Blades was also a member of the 80's supergroup, Damn Yankees so we were treated to awesome renditions of their biggest hits, "Coming of Age," "Come Again" and "High Enough." Night Ranger's newest member, guitarist Keri Kelli used to play for Alice Cooper, so we got a kick ass cover of "School's Out." Not to be outdone, original guitarist Brad Gillis, who as everyone knows used to play with Ozzy Osbourne shredded away to "Crazy Train." The show would come to a close following the hard rocking "Don't Tell Me You Love Me," drummer Kelly Keagy belting out "Sister Christian" and the crowd pleasing anthem, "You Can Still Rock In America."
Next came Dennis DeYoung And The Music Of Styx. As the set opened with Styx classics "The Grand Illusion," "Lady" and "Lorelei," the thing that stands out immediately is just how incredible Dennis' voice still sounds after all these years. Then guitarist August Zadra, who already looks a lot like Tommy Shaw, begins to sing "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" and he actually sounds a lot like him as well! Guitarist Jimmy Leahey even looks enough like James "JY" Young that there were probably fans in the cheap seats thinking Styx reunited for this show!
In between songs Dennis enjoyed interacting with the crowd and telling jokes. He may have found a second career as a stand up comedian as he was hilarious. Getting back to the music, the classics continued with "Too Much Time On My Hands," "Babe" and "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)," but the biggest highlight was the masterpiece, "Suite Madam Blue," complete with the full acoustic intro and Dennis holding that impossibly long note. "The Best Of Times" with a bit of The Beatles "The End" would end the set, followed by the encores, "Renegade" and "Come Sail Away" to send everyone home happy.
It's still early to tell, but I'm betting when the year is over this will still be remembered as one of the best shows of the year. These are two great bands that can still go and deliver the goods.