Foreigner Concert Review (9/4/16 in Littleton, CO)

September 5, 2016
I'm so embarrassed. I was enjoying Sunday night's Foreigner concert at Littleton's Hudson Gardens so much that it took me two full songs before I noticed guitarist Mick Jones wasn't even there. Plagued by health issues in recent years, the absence of the 71-year-old Jones meant that no original members of the band were performing on stage. Essentially, the show could have been billed as "The World's Greatest Foreigner Tribute Band" but there was just too much talent on stage for the sold out crowd to care.

Formerly of '80s hard rockers Hurricane, lead singer Kelly Hansen has been in Foreigner since 2005 and he absolutely owned the stage. The energy of opening tracks "Double Vision" and "Head Games" was off the charts – even if the sound was muddy due to too much low end from bassist "Titanium" Jeff Pilson. I love Pilson (well known for his work in Dokken) and he threw my daughter a purple guitar pick just moments into the show so now I love him even more.

Dressed in a pink jacket, Hansen fearlessly climbed 25 feet in the air on the lighting truss during "Cold As Ice" (see video below). That's something I haven't seen since Steelheart's Mike Matijevic pulled the same maneuver on Halloween 1992 at Denver's old McNichols Arena and was critically injured when the truss fell on him. As OTT as Hansen may have seemed, he never appeared to be trying too hard. When he turned around and rubbed his own butt during "Dirty White Boy", it was just Kelly being Kelly. When he called out a fan in a white shirt for sitting down and looking at his cell phone, it was because he wanted the audience engaged in the show.

Hansen got a chance to catch his breath during the power ballad "Waiting For A Girl Like You". Guitarist Thom Gimbel earned his paycheck performing several other instruments throughout the evening including keyboards, the trademark "Urgent" saxophone solos and a (Ron Burgundy) flute solo during an acoustic arrangement of "Say You Will".

As it turned out, this was a bit of a homecoming show for Hansen who told the crowd he lived in Aurora, CO for five years and attended Smoky Hill High School growing up. "I almost drowned in Cherry Creek Reservoir," he exclaimed. Drummer Chris Frazier gave an impressive solo including pouring water on his kit and sending droplets flying in the air when smacking his drums. (Jeff Pilson must have shown Dokken's "In My Dreams" music video to Frazier on the tour bus, because "Wild" Mick Brown did that 30 years ago!) After his solo, Frazier tossed his drum sticks toward my son who was lucky enough to grab one after a few ricochets. I think he's still sleeping with it as I type this review!

Hansen made a passionate speech during encore "I Want To Know What Love Is" saying "This is real life. This is not a passive experience. It's about loving each other and making the world a beautiful place." The band was joined on stage by Littleton's Voices West Choir during the chorus which was a nice moment. A rockin' "Hot Blooded" sent the fans home happy after Hansen told the crowd Foreigner will embark on a full acoustic tour at the end of the year.

Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Say You Will (Acoustic)
Feels Like The First Time
Guitar Solo
Keyboard Solo / Drum Solo
Juke Box Hero

I Want To Know What Love Is (w/ Voices West Choir)
Hot Blooded

(Blurry cell phone photos by Ken Tomczak)