Come Sail Away: Styx Rocks Joan’s Beach

Rock legends Styx returned to Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater last week on their annual trek, this time with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts – who aptly “renamed” the place “Joan’s Beach” at the start of her headline set – to run through the usual array of hits on a Friday night that also saw Tesla perform as the opening act. I missed Tesla’s set mostly out of being run down from the extreme heat and heavy shooting schedule for the week and a half leading up to the show, and I left a few songs into Jett’s set for the same reasons in addition to her not allowing photographers, so we’ll only be covering Styx thanks to my “no photo, no coverage” policy.

I saw Styx with REO Speedwagon and Don Felder of The Eagles fame last year and their setlist was largely the same as they opened up with one from last year’s album, The Mission, titled Gone Gone Gone before going right into the hits – Blue Collar ManThe Grand Illusion and Lady – before eventually playing Fooling Yourself and Too Much Time on My Hands. Last year I griped that Styx didn’t play Mr. Roboto, but a year later I finaly got to hear it live during the encore, so I’m happy and I can now say I’ve heard every Styx hit under the sun.

This was essentially a “best of” or greatest hits show with a couple new tracks mixed in, as the rest of the band’s set included Radio SilenceMiss America and the song everyone knows Styx by, Come Sail Away and Renegade to close out their set. Now, let’s be real, I grew up listening to Styx when Dennis DeYoung was the lead singer, and every one of their songs I’ve ever liked was written and recorded with DeYoung. I still have a hard time transitioning from listening to DDY on the band’s albums and then hearing Lawrence Gowen sing the same tunes live, but he’s grown on me the second time around and this show was definitely better than the first time.

The last original members – JY and Chuck Panozzo, along with Tommy Shaw who has been the band’s guitarist since 1975 and sang on quite a few of their songs over their career, are absolutely remarkable even as they push 70, Shaw being the youngest of that trio at 64, and Gowen was impressive again on keyboard and lead vocal duties at 61. It was different hearing all my favorite Styx songs live for the first time and also for the first time without Dennis DeYoung a year ago, but knowing what to expect made the second go-round with Styx much more enjoyable despite last year’s show being excellent.

The only thing I wish had been different about this one is that it had been two weeks earlier when temperatures were still reasonable and I could have gone for the entire show, start to finish, to see how Tesla and Joan Jett stacked up as they approach senior citizen status. Photo gallery below.