The band has no new material, but a Civic Center Theater crowd of some 1,400 fans didn't care on Thursday night; hits like "Lady" and "Too Much Time on My Hands" were more than enough.
With 6½ minutes on stage Thursday that stretched back a third-century in time, Styx delivered the biggest blast of rock Peoria has heard in eons.
“Suite Madame Blue,” the last cut on late-1975’s “Equinox” album, alternately entranced and thundered some 1,400 fans at the Civic Center Theater. Lawrence Gowan’s glissando vocals perfectly interplayed with his calliope-like keyboard, the blend crashing into the buzzsaw guitars of James Young and Tommy Shaw, which in turn soared into the four-part harmony of the “America” chorus. Never has this song sounded so good, the apex of a solid, two-hour show.Styx has no new material, so most of the concert (the start of a 21-show tour) served as a greatest-hits review — much to the delight of a throng dotted with a few young faces but by and large middle-aged. The show kicked off with “Blue Collar Man,” “Grand Illusion” and “Lorelei,” and the audience ate up the hits. Fans crooned enthusiastically during “Lady,” clapped exactly to “Too Much Time on My Hands” and playfully punctuated (“Woo!”) the band’s take on the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus.”
Gowan, Young and Shaw took turns chatting with the crowd and offering quick anecdotes, still seemingly enjoying the timeworn tunes. Much of the energy comes from Gowan, an imp who makes just about anyone forget about the long-departed and long-grumpy Dennis DeYoung. Whereas DeYoung saw himself as an artiste on stage, Gowan — a sliver of a man — darted and dashed hither and yon, then would scurry back to his swivel-mounted keyboard to hit a few keys before swirling it around like a carousel. His crowning moment came at the zenith of “Come Sail Away,” when — after Young and Shaw distracted the crowd with guitar work — Gowan suddenly appeared atop his keyboard, lurching forward as he sang, almost threatening to go airborne.
The night’s only downside came via the encore. The first selection was the unknown and forgettable “Everything All the Time,” from 2006’s “One With Everything,” a live album recorded with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. Yippee. Next was “Renegade,” which was marred with way-too-long guitar solos and noodling, plus a trite drum solo from Todd Sucherman. Plus, for reasons know only to Young, for the last few songs he wore a weird, brown shirt with orange piping that looked like something they wear at Burger King. Phil Luciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.