Foreigner – Still got it!

Foreigner-5726The iconic rock band brought their arsenal of hits (and a ton of energy) to Harrah’s Rincon Casino Teasing the crowd with the first few notes of “Double Vision” the stage was lit with bright blue lights and a large “F” logo. When the band burst onto the stage, they were immediately met with a standing ovation, before the lyrics had even begun. “This isn’t a poetry reading, people. This is a rock show,” said lead singer Kelly Hansen. “Is California ready for a rock show? Let’s get this party started!” Without further ado, the band delivered hit after hit, including, “Double Vision,” “Head Games,” “Urgent,” and “Feels Like the First Time.”

Foreigner-5716Foreigner’s Tom Gimbel said in an interview that they love connecting with their audience, and that they, “don’t block the audience out — we sort of drink them in,” which couldn’t have been more true Saturday night. From die-hard fans, to high school kids, and everything in between, the crowd was an eclectic mix of concert-goers. The band matched their energy, and took “crowd participation” to a whole other level. Band members ran, clapped, and jumped up onto the risers. They winked, smiled and threw mementos into the crowd. They held their guitars out into the audience so fans could strum the instruments. At one point, lead singer Kelly Hansen even stopped mid-song to sign an autograph. “What’s that? What do you want me to sign? Oh, okay, hand it up. You know I can’t bend down – I’m over 40.” The crowd laughed at Hansen’s age reference (he’s really 52) but he certainly didn’t display any signs of getting older. Seriously, this guy is like a gazelle. A singing, dancing, hard-rocking gazelle. He commanded the stage, and didn’t stop moving for the entire two hour show. Hansen used the microphone stand as his own personal baton, swinging it through the air, and holding it close as he delivered note after powerful note. Hansen’s vocals were top-notch, and upon seeing this reviewer taking notes, the stranger next to me said, “He sounds phenomenal. Wow. They all do. They sound better than on the radio – write that down.”

Foreigner-5667The band showed an impressive variety of musical talent, incorporating guitars, keyboards, drums, saxophones, and even a flute, into their set. One of the highlights of the night was an acoustic version of “Say You Will,” which was expertly arranged. “Give it up for these guys,” said Hansen. “There’s no synthesizers, no auto-tune. These are real guys up here, making real music – just for you.” Slowing it down for a more tender moment, Hansen said, “Grab somebody close to you – and let’s do something nice.” And at Hansen’s insistence, the majority of the audience then began slow-dancing to Foreigner’s hit, “I’ve Been Waiting For a Foreigner-5783Girl Like You” Later in the show, while the audience was entertained (and distracted) with a great keyboard solo by Michael Bluestein, Hansen snuck into the middle of the audience and popped out in the middle of a sea of fans. He was a sneaky prankster when he wasn’t singing – grabbing people’s cellphones and cameras from their hands and taking pictures of himself and the crowd. He also was a certified sex symbol for the adoring, female fans. Pointing and singing directly to the ladies, Hansen even bent over and was immediately spanked by several eager women. “How many wild and crazy women are in the house?” Hansen asked. When he was met with thunderous applause, he replied, “Wow, that’s good! Because we have some dirty white boys up here,” said Hansen before performing, “Dirty White Boys.” Foreigner was also as gracious as they were energetic. Hansen continually talked to the crowd throughout the show and thanked fans after almost every song. “Thank you very much. If you get a chance to see them you won’t be disappointed.

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Images Brian Tierney / BackStage360

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