Last Night: Styx at Reliant Stadium

Styx 0305 1.jpg
Photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Styx
Reliant Stadium
March 4, 2013

When Styx made the decision to open with "Blue Collar Man" last night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, I couldn't decide at first if the band was pandering to its anticipated crowd at something as common as a rodeo or being clever. I vacillated when Lawrence Gowan -- the Scots-Canadian replacement for former front man Dennis DeYoung, who famously split from the band in 1999 -- made a couple of jokes about sheep over the course of the ten-song show.

What sealed the deal, however, was the overtly patriotic display of animated stars and stripes exploding onto the curved wall behind the band when Styx shuffled out "Miss America," a song about as patriotic as J. Geils Band's "Centerfold." Whether it was the band or the Rodeo that decided this song should be played -- and backed in such odd fashion -- one thing was clear: Styx may have been trying a little too hard to fit in.

Not that I can blame the band. The bill at the weeks-long RodeoHouston concert series has become increasingly diverse over the years, steering away from hosting only country favorites toward acts that will bring in different crowds every night. Witness Thursday's bill of squeaky-voiced crooner Bruno Mars or this past Sunday's double-header of Demi Lovato -- a Disney teen star -- and some equally tween-ish singer called Austin Mahone whom I'd never heard of until the Rodeo brought him to town.

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But at the end of the night, I didn't really care. I'd seen Styx perform and I could cross that off my bucket list.

While some in the audience were clearly peeved that not all of their own favorite hits were played, the great thing about a band like Styx is that it has no shortage of instantly recognizable songs to choose from in concert.

"Babe" -- the band's only No. 1 song -- was the most notable omission of the night, but that's likely only because it's a DeYoung song through and through. All of the original harmonies were even DeYoung himself, layering vocal track upon vocal track in the studio. And Monday night's harmonies started out rough enough as it was.

Tommy Shaw's voice was shaky and gruff as he worked his way though "Blue Collar Man," as were the backing vocals provided by James Young -- the only "original" member of Styx left now that John Panozzo and John Curulewski have passed away, Chuck Panozzo makes only occasional concert apperances and DeYoung rebuffs any calls of "Let's get the band back together!" with Broadway theatricality.


Location Info

Map

NRG Stadium

2 Reliant Park, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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14 comments
Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

I always like it when an Artist opens with their hit or one of their best songs. It shows that they have confidence in the rest of the set. It shows  a certain swagger that Alejandro quietly displays. Saw him open two shows last yer, sorry I missed the full set.

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

Why is it that "Rocks Off reviews every Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo concert"? It's not exactly your demographic (or mine). Cynical I ask what you get out of it? Would the promoters stop the flow of free tickets at other venues? I think that you should cover all shows, not just the ones you get free tickets to.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Domo arrigato, mr. roboto de los rodeo? Yuck..

claymonster
claymonster

I found the inclusion of the cynical "Miss America" quite the surprise - and a crazy flashback moment. I remember learning/playing that riff back in my high school days - but hadn't thought about that song in decades. I occasionally would find myself humming that riff "in my head" over the years but if someone had asked me what song it was from I would have had no idea. So, I thank the guys for that little nostalgic ping. 

As to the red, white & blue/stars & stripes motif on the LED backdrop & screens - that was just the visualist puling up some clips in the library that seemed to fit, and was likely not "requested" by anyone in particular. Just like the clock face during "too much time on my hands" - had it in the library and thought "Hey, a clock!" 

All in all, I thought the band did an admirable job in the suboptimal conditions that are the rodeo. The new sound system was pretty amazing - a LOT of clarity & detail from that rig. Kudos to the FOH engineer who understood the limitations of a football stadium and worked within them.

carriebwc
carriebwc

Suddenly, I was in 8th grade again.  Granted, 8th grade in a luxury suite with free booze.  Not sure what people expected if they were disappointed with this show.  I had a grand time!

htownpuglife
htownpuglife

Writing a review of a Rodeo concert and treating it like a full show is like writing a review of a Restaurant based on their Happy Hour light bites menu...which you should probably just stick to.

EJD1984
EJD1984

Correction to Reporter:

DeYoung rebuffs any calls of "Let's get the band back together!"

 Dennis DeYoung is the one calling for the band to reunite with him. 

 http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/dennis-deyoung-open-to-a-styx-reunion-20110727

But there are some petty grudges that James Young and Tommy Shaw still holds onto.

 I've loved Styx since I bought the Grand Illusion album in 1977, but sadly what's left of them has devolved into a glorified cover band.

EJD1984
EJD1984

Correction to Reporter:

DeYoung rebuffs any calls of "Let's get the band back together!"

 Dennis DeYoung is the one called for the band to reunite with him. But there are still some petty grudges that James Young still holds onto.

 I've loved Styx since I bought the Grand Illusion album in 1977, but sadly what's left of them has devolved into a glorified cover band.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

@htownpuglife Rocks Off reviews every Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo concert. And I thought that I reviewed it for what it was: a 10-song Rodeo concert. At least, that was my intention. Thanks for reading.

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

@kshilcutt @Chrisfgee I knew when I wrote that. There are plenty of shows that you don't cover. I wrote in a couple of times and the answer was that the Venue or group did not respond do your request for passes. When was the last time y'all covered an act at the Duck? Also you didn't answer, what do you get out of it. Come on the Bruno Mars review is over the top. All the reviews with no comments should tell you (or management) that your readers are not interested.

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

@kshilcutt@ChrisfgeeThere are plenty of shows that don't get reviewed. I asked and was told that the venue arr artist didn't respond to you request for free passes. When is the last time you reviewed a show at the Duck?

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

@kshilcutt @Chrisfgee There are plenty of shows that don't get reviewed. I asked and was told that the venue arr artist didn't respond to you request for free passes. When is the last time you reviewed a show at the Duck?

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