Rock icons Foreigner returned to New York last week with a performance at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, and had a unique surprise for everyone in attendance – the only time on this tour where there would be such a surprise. I’ll get into that later, but with Foreigner celebrating their 40th anniversary, they’d obviously be playing all of their hits. Despite the lineup changes over the years and guitarist Mick Jones being the last remaining original band member, Foreigner has carried on and continued touring, and with the addition of lead singer Kelly Hansen, whose voice is amazing live, the band has all the energy of a young rock band touring for the first time.
The guys kicked it off with Double Vision and then ran through 8 more of their biggest hits including Head Games, Cold as Ice and my favorite Foreigner song, Juke Box Hero, complete with Hansen going through the crowd and performing on top of some sort of rising pedestal – no photos, the venue wouldn’t allow it because it was after the third song – near the end of the tune. That was what many thought to be the end of the set, as people started leaving right after the band had *said* goodnight, and those are typically the people who have never been to Foreigner concert before. Admittedly, this was my first one as well, but I go to enough shows that I know it’s never over until the house lights come on, and for a band celebrating its 40th anniversary, you knew there’d be an encore.
So, duh, there was an encore. Also duh, that encore featured Long, Long Way From Home, I Want To Know What Love Is and Hot Blooded. None of those, however, were the highlight of the night. They weren’t even the highlight of the encore, because this is where the above-noted surprise took place. Original Foreigner members Ian McDonald, Al Greenwood and Lou Gramm – yes, original lead singer Lou Gramm – joined the band on stage to perform all three songs to close out the night.
That’s a hell of a sight, isn’t it? Gramm, McDonald and Greenwood all on stage with Mick Jones for the first time in ages. The last time all four of those guys were on stage together, I wasn’t even alive. That’s pretty special to see and get to be part of, and for Lou Gramm and Kelly Hansen to sing together during the encore was great. Of course, old Lou’s voice isn’t what it used to be even as recently as 2003 when he left the band for good, but for him to even be there and be on stage performing with the most of the original lineup was a sight to behold. The coolest part was getting to photograph it and be one of very few photographers with photos of the experience.
I want to get to the part of this story where I share my photos, because Foreigner was fun to shoot, but I do need to say before wrapping up that not only are they fun to shoot, they’re absolutely great on stage. Despite being an entirely new band that Mick Jones is hanging onto, Kelly Hansen more than does the band’s legacy justice, and the rest of the guys on stage are no slouches either. Foreigner’s got a fun show all these years later, despite being Foreigner in name only. I’d say see them if you have the chance.
Photo gallery below: