Monday, September 12, 2005
Foreigner at Hudson Gardens
OK, first you may be asking, “Why would Pat Angello waste time on a concert review for a band from the 70’s that only has one original member in it?” Then you’d probably say, “Where (and what) the hell is Hudson Gardens?” Let me start with the second question.
Hudson Gardens and Event Center is located in Littleton Colorado along the Platte River. Entrance is off Santa Fe just south of Arapahoe Community College. It’s basically a nature park with many flowers and other types of gardens on a beautiful landscape. Also, it has a small stage/venue for concerts.
I was in the car last week on the way to the bank when I heard Mike Evans on AM 950 the Fan say, “OK, here we go… (“Juke Box Hero” began to play)… Caller number nine right now will get a pair of tickets to see Foreigner in concert.” So I called. And I called again, and again, and again. Busy, busy, busy. I got to the point where I said to myself, “OK, three more tries. Two more tri- whoa! It’s ringing.” A guy answers on the other end. I ask if I’m caller number nine, and he says yes! SWEET! I won! I was so excited; I had to tell the bank teller!
Now, I’m not a HUGE Foreigner fan by any means. I’ve never seen them live before. However, just hearing “Juke Box Hero” before I tried to call in to the radio station got me pumped up. Besides, I can’t even tell you when the last time I personally ever won a call in contest like that!
We got to the Gardens and waited outside to enter. You could hear the sound check, and they sounded pretty good! Hudson Gardens is an odd venue – it’s a grassy hill basically. Fortunately, before we left, we were informed that there were no seats so we brought a folding love seat (isn’t that cute?) instead of having to sit on the grass (which was covered in goose poop). We picked a spot on the right side of the stage, close to the grill (of course).
Now, it’s kinda hard to get too excited about a band that hits the stage at 6:30 PM. It’s still light out, and the stage lights have little effect. Granted they still used their typical introduction, but it lacked excitement as it was designed for a dark venue.
All I have to say about the performance is “Holy CRAP!” I was blown away at the talent of the band, and recalling all of the songs they played! You know them all yourself: “Urgent,” “Cold as Ice,” “Head Games,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Hot Blooded,” “Juke Box Hero,” “Double Vision,” “Dirty White Boy.” You got each and every song in your head as you read them, didn’t you? Of course – because they are all really great hooks that you can’t forget!
There were a few other songs they played, but KT and I spent a lot of time debating on if the singer was in fact Lou Gramm. I knew it was Mick Jones on guitar, but the singer had a little too much energy to be in his 50’s. Turns out, just Jones, guitarist/sax player Thom Gimble, and keyboardist Jeff Jacobs were in Foreigner before. So they added bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken!), drummer Jason Bonham (yes, THAT Jason Bonham – the son of John Bonham from Led Zeppelin), and singer Kelley Hansen. Hansen sounded damn close to Gramm, and he was all over the place – jumping up on the speakers and running through the crowd. Hansen is also a Colorado native who grew up near Cherry Creek. I immediately looked through old yearbooks when I got home (just in case he went to Creek), but no dice. Still, a pretty impressive lineup and an odd but cool local tie!
The crowd was a little out of it for a while. Appreciative, but sitting the whole time. Then “Urgent” started and people were up for the rest of the show. Bonham had a great solo along with Jacobs, which turned into “Juke Box Hero.” In the middle of the song, the band broke into Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” before returning to “Hero.” I love when bands do that stuff! Also, about every song had the typical, 70’s band, long ending with tons of strumming chords and cymbal crashes until the lead singer jumps and lands on the last crash. Just plain fun stuff!
The encore was cool as poo! They came back out and Hansen announced that it was the 25 year anniversary of John Bonham’s death. To celebrate and honor Jason’s father, the band played an incredible version of “Misty Mountain Hop!” They just jammed on it for about 15 minutes. After, they brought it down a little with “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” and then finished strong with “Hot Blooded.”
For free tickets, I could not have enjoyed myself more. What a great show, and how cool to see Pilson and Bonham in this band. Check out their website to see if they are coming near you, because I highly recommend attending!