It turns out that rock-and-roll fans can be on-time. The fans that crowded into The Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania sat and waited eagerly in their seats for the hit-packed tour featuring Styx, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, and Tesla to start. The atmosphere of the arena was calm and relaxed as Tesla took the stage to open the night. The fans were super receptive, and applauded vigorously, but you could tell early on that the crowd was docile, and the days of wild headbanging and moshing was long behind them.
Tesla opened their eight song set with lead singer Jeff Keith belting out “I Wanna Live” then went right into “Hang Tough.” Though the band only played eight songs, the performance came out to a whooping fifty-minutes, which is pretty impressive for an opener, and gave the band plenty of time to fire up the growing crowd. Keith stalked the stage, belting out high notes and showing off his dance moves and leg-kicks, making sure to interact with the fans in the front, thanking everyone in attendance over and over for their support. Midway through the set, the band performed their mega-hit cover of the Five Man Electric Band's “Signs” which had the fans actually out of their seats, dancing from side to side.
I Wanna Live / Hang Tough / Heaven's Trail (No Way Out) / What You Give / Signs (Five Man Electrical Band cover) / Love Song / Little Suzi (Ph.D. cover) / Modern Day Cowboy
The Queen of Noise herself, Joan Jett, took the stage next, her raspy voice seducing the crowd with “Bad Reputation” right off rip. Jett looks amazing on stage, winking at adoring fans in the crowd, and shooting sensual side-glances their ways. Despite looking as powerful and poised as ever as she prowls the stage, Jett did not allow photography, leaving everyone to just enjoy watching the show.
Directly after “Bad Reputation” Jett and the Blackhearts kicked into The Runaway's “Cherry Bomb” which had girls of all ages stnaind up and shouting along. The sixteen song set included other cover favorites such as “You Drive Me Wild” and “ Light of Day,” but also a new song by Jett titled “Fresh Start.” But it was when the band kicked into the instantly recognizable beat of “I Love Rock 'n' Roll” that the entire crowd was up stomping and singing along. The set closed out with a cover of “Everyday People” by Sly and The Family Stone.
Bad Reputation / Cherry Bomb (The Runaways cover) / Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) (Gary Glitter cover) / Victim of Circumstance / Soulmates to Strangers / You Drive Me Wild (The Runaways cover) / Light of Day (Bruce Springsteen cover) / Fake Friends / Love Is Pain / A Hundred Feet Away / Fresh Start / Love Is All Around (Sonny Curtis cover) / I Love Rock 'n' Roll / Crimson & Clover / I Hate Myself for Loving You / Everyday People (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
Styx tour yearly, but their performance is always fine-tuned and great to catch no matter what. One by one, the veteran rockers emerged from the shadows on the stage: Tommy Shaw (guitar), Lawrence Gowan (keyboard), James “JY” Young (guitar), Todd Sucherman (drums) and Ricky Phillips (bass). The stage was set up reminiscent of a spaceship, with an aggressive light display that matched the beat of the music. The band are touring in support of their latest release, The Mission, a concept album about traveling to Mars and their first new release since 2003's Cyclorama.
The band came to the stage as the instrumental opening track from The Mission, “Overture,” played overhead. Once everyone was in place, the band kicked into “Gone, Gone, Gone” which follows on the album as well. The sixteen song set would include two more songs off the release, but the majority of their headlining set focused on fan favorites from their more than forty-year spanned discography. The band has been bringing out founding member Chuck Panozzo (bass) to play a few songs on the tour, and Hershey was no exception to the fun! It was great to see Panozzo onstage with the band once again.
After an energetic solo cover by Cowan of Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody” the band slid into the electric tinkerings of nostalgia with “Come Sail Away.” This summer's tour has marked the first time in memory that the band has reintroduced “Mr. Roboto” to the set since their split with Dennis DeYoung. The band has reportedly not performed the song since his departure, but 2018 marks a lucky year with it's return. The fans were playing air-keyboards and having their own personal show solos along with the band to the classic track. The band closed out the show with 1979's “Renegade.”
Overture / Gone Gone Gone / Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) / The Grand Illusion / Lady / Light Up / Rockin' the Paradise / Radio Silence / Miss America / The Outpost / Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) / Too Much Time on My Hands / Khedive / Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) / Come Sail Away / Mr. Roboto / Renegade