The Grand Illusion
December 15, 2018
It’s funny how music can take you back to a certain time and place.
Whether it be the melody, the instruments or the vocals of a certain song, upon hearing one or all of them, memories can come flooding back to you from years past.
Dennis DeYoung, the former lead singer of Styx, brought back many memories for the 1,500 or so fans in attendance at the Hard Rock Rocksino last night.
DeYoung and his great backing band are out celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Styx’s The Grand Illusion album. Before hitting the stage, a pre-recorded message from DeYoung told the audience that the band would be playing the album in its entirety and that he would not be speaking between songs until that portion of the set was completed.
Kicking off the show with “The Grand Illusion” the band proceeded to play the entire album note for note. Songs such as “”Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” and the ubiquitous “Come Sail Away” were highlights of the first set.
The only time Dennis spoke to the audience was after “Come Sail Away” when he said “Now, for side two.” This brought back memories of actually having to get up, and flip the record over to the other side to hear the rest of the album.
Side two consisted of “Miss America,” and two songs that you rarely hear on classic rock radio, “Man In The Wilderness” and “Castle Walls.”
After The Grand Illusion came to a close, DeYoung quipped, “Now it’s time for the greatest hits!”
Classic rock staples such as “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Lady,” and “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” were all played with aplomb.
However, when the opening melody of “Babe” was played on the keyboard, my mind went racing back to when I was in the sixth grade. It’s been years since I heard that song, but as soon as it started I was transported back to Moon-Glo roller rink in Kent where it was time for the couples skate.
The mirrored ball was spinning in the middle of the rink and the flashing lights danced off the tiled walls with the handrails (to help those less experienced skaters) and the wooden floor as DeYoung sang, “Babe I’m leaving, I must me on my way.”
I spent many Friday evenings at Moon-Glo when I was in 5th and 6th grade and hearing that song brought a smile to my face.
DeYoung mentioned the many memories that he had playing in Cleveland in years past. He said that they were never headliners before The Grand Illusion came out. He remembered playing the Richfield Coliseum opening for bands such as ZZ Top, Aerosmith and Kiss.
He also mentioned that he remembered legendary disc jockey Kid Leo from WMMS playing his records. After The Grand Illusion came out, they finally broke in Cleveland and became headliners.
DeYoung still has a great voice and is very theatrical and animated during his performance. At one point, an audience member in the front asked him how old he was. He answered, “I’m 71! Do you know the best thing about being 71? Nothing!”
Other hits in the second half of the show included “Mr. Roboto” and “The Best Of Times” that included a snippet of The Beatles’ “In The End.”
This great trip back in time ended with “Renegade.”
Moon-Glo roller rink no longer exists, but the memories of that place are alive and well.
Especially when a song can take you there.
Review and photos by Greg Drugan