However, fans in northeastern Ohio got an early jump on the celebration as they sold-out the Hard Rock Rocksino on Sunday night for Foreigner’s headlining appearance. Impressively, this is the third straight time that Foreigner has sold out the Rocksino.
The band did not disappoint the packed house as they played all of the hits and even threw in a few surprises. Frontman Kelly Hanson had the mostly middle aged crowd in the palm of his hand as soon as the opening chords of “Double Vision” were played. Hanson has been in the band for over 10 years and his voice is nearly identical to original lead singer Lou Gramm.
The band is also full of well trained musicians including bassist Jeff Pilson, who is an original member of Dokken, and long-time member and multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel, who has also toured with Aerosmith in the past.
The one-two punch of “Head Games” and “Cold As Ice” saw Hanson run into the audience and sing along with the fans.
After the band slowed the pace down by playing “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” Hanson announced that they were going to do something they haven’t done before. He said because Foreigner has had so many hits and they didn’t have time to play them all, he was going to let the audience choose the next song. He then announced four songs and the one that got the loudest response was the one they would play. “Blue Morning, Blue Day” was the overwhelming winner.
Another highlight of the show was a beautiful acoustic arrangement of “Say You Will” that was written by Pilson and included a nice flute intro by Gimbel. The magnificent vocal harmonies led Hanson to proclaim at the end of the song: “There is no auto-tune, no pitch correction, it’s just natural voices!”
“Feels Like The First Time,” “Urgent” complete with extended sax solo, and “Jukebox Hero” rounded out the main set.
The band briefly left the stage then came back to play their number one hit “I Want To Know What Love Is.” This song featured a show choir from Solon. Not that it was needed, because everyone in the audience sang along with the chorus.
“Hot Blooded” ended the band’s 90-minute set and Cleveland’s thirst for classic rock was quenched. At least for the time being.