Styx parties like it’s 1979 at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in the Villages, Florida. The set, while only 90 minutes long, has a high level of intimacy that you normally wouldn’t expect from major musicians. The band doesn’t want attendees to just sit down and watch patiently, but instead encourages the crowd to stand up, sing along, and rock out. “Come on everyone! We’re here to celebrate!” urges guitarist James Young.
It’s moments like those that continually make Styx shows unique and appreciated. They prove that no matter how many times you’ve seen them live, they always bring something new that you’ve never experienced before.
The band has a special surprise for us with the grand entrance of original bassist Chuck Panozzo. Although he’s been battling health issues for the past 17 years, he proves that he’s still got it. He is ready to rock alongside the crowd with impressive energy.
Styx demonstrates their versatility yet again through their voices. Young takes turns leading vocals with keyboardist Lawrence Gowan and guitarist Tommy Shaw. They come together with bassist Ricky Phillips for a powerful vocal mix in “Come Sail Away” and “Renegades.”
Guitarists Shaw and Young complement each other flawlessly. Physically, they move in unison, climbing alongside each other to the stage’s second level while shredding their guitars. Meanwhile, they stay in perfect sync, Young raising the guitar to his neck as he unleashes a solo.
Shaw’s amazing guitar work showcases the band’s depth. He even plays a few acoustic songs, and illustrates his astounding abilities on solos like “The Grand Illusion,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Crystal Ball.”
In addition to all of the eagerly expected hits, the set included some noteworthy expansions; Like the extremely cool tribute to David Bowie with a crowd-sung rendition of “Changes,” followed by “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Another was a beautiful tribute to the late Leonard Cohen with “Hallelujah,” before the band showed of their psychedelic side with a unique cover of the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus.”
Live Review and Photos by James Strassberger
Edited by Ariel Rivera
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