On the heals of their May 2018 release ‘Foreigner with The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus’, the Foreigner Juke Box Hero Tour 2018 kicked off in June with Whitesnake and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. A tour that was set to be the hot ticket for music fans!
I caught up with the tour last Friday, July 27th as the they made their way to the Seattle area for a show at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, WA. For the Seattle fans it was a literal hot ticket as the asphalt heated up and the temperature topped out at 90 degrees for this outdoor show. Not quite as “Hot Blooded” as Foreigner would be that evening, but still scorching enough for fans to feel the heat! The only thing “Cold As Ice” this night was the beer!
The show kicked off with killer sets from Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and Whitesnake (see the Whitesnake review and photos here) who got fans riled up and ready for the main event!
The sun set just before Foreigner hit the state at 9:05pm, giving the fans and the band a bit of break from the high heat of the day, but it was set to be a hot and sweaty rock n’ roll show for sure. The show started off with “Long, Long Way From Home” from the 1977 self titled release ‘Foreigner’ and had fans up on their feet and ready to rock. As with every Foreigner show I’ve seen with Kelly Hansen on vocals, it was a constant bolt of energy across the stage. The interaction between Hansen and the other members of the band are fun to watch and a full live show is always delivered.
At some points throughout the show, Kelly Hansen even took the show to the crowd as he went out into the audience! During “Cold As Ice”, Hansen jumped off the stage and ran through the lower levels of seating singing to fans and shaking hands before he jumped back up on the stage. Then again during “Juke Box Hero”, Hansen started out at the soundboard set midway back in the audience as he was hoisted high in the air on a raised platform to start the beginning lyrics of the song before being lowered back down and escorted back to the stage to finish the song. Fans enjoyed both interactions immensely.
But this wasn’t just the Kelly Hansen show, this was the Foreigner show. Each member of the band got their stand out moment to shine and all had great energy and showmanship during the show. Not only did Mick Jones design the lighting for this tour, he also had time during the show to talk about a few of the songs and a moment in the spotlight with the performance of “Starrider”. Being a founding member of Foreigner, he takes pride in making sure that each show is a real show and has spectacular components.
But it didn’t stop there as fans got doses of high energy and even some funk from Jeff Pilson, Tom Gimbel (check out our interview with Tom from last week here), Bruce Watson, Michael Bluestein and Chris Frazier throughout the night. The mix of the show performance, hit songs and lighting all wrapped up into one is the magic that has placed Foreigner back at the top of touring rock bands once again. They never take a show for granted and make it a true production, something fans will enjoy and something they are proud of.
It wasn’t just their performance that was enjoyed and appreciated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again right now, the work they do with music programs around the country to help schools keep music alive is something I truly respect and admire about Foreigner. As with almost all of their shows in North America, they selected a local school choir to appear with them onstage during their performance of “I Want to Know What Love Is”. This year it was the choir from Kentwood High School in Covington, WA who were selected to perform.
In doing this (and by fans who purchased tickets to the show), they also made a donation to the school for their music program to help with funding. They believe in giving back and helping to keep the music alive for the new generations today. I always look forward to this part of their show, seeing the faces of the young adults in these programs being able to be part of a major musical event is truly an experience.
The show wrapped up for the night with a performance of “Hot Blooded” from the 1978 release ‘Double Vision’.
Foreigner wraps up their North American tour with Whitesnake and Jason Bonham tonight in Irvine, CA. The band has some remaining shows across North America in August and September before heading off to Australia and New Zealand for special live performances of ‘Foreigner with The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra & Chorus’. If you are in their strike zone, catch them live!
Foreigner Juke Box Hero Tour Setlist:
Long, Long Way From Home
Cold as Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like the First Time
Juke Box Hero
I Want to Know What Love Is
Mick Jones – Lead Guitar
Kelly Hansen – Lead Vocals
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Tom Gimbel – Flute, Rhythm Guitar, Saxophone;
Michael Bluestein – Keys
Bruce Watson – Lead Guitar
Chris Frazier – Drums