Styx + Joan Jett and The Blackhearts + Tesla @ Place Bell – 3rd July 2018

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Styx Montreal Laval

As a millennial, it’s exciting and surprising to see Styx, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Tesla still touring after so many years. These are bands that I listened to on my Walkman and on MuchMusic growing up and never imagined I would be lucky enough to see them live. I’ve heard many people my age say they were born in the wrong era because the older generation’s music was real music. I tend to agree on certain points. These are classic bands that are still around from generation to generation and no matter our age we can appreciate that this is the music that will live on forever and we will never get tired of listening. Many classic bands have broken up, broken down, or just are not worth seeing anymore. It was definitely not the case for this show. I feel fortunate to have witnessed an evening of pure bliss for all who attended tonight.

For the moment I am living outside Montreal area and sadly that also means having to sacrifice on shows, or in this case, missing the opening act. This was the case for Tesla. “But you have to see them” I was told over and over again each time I mentioned I was going to miss the opening act. I got to the venue just as they were playing their last song and had the words “30 Years” on the screen behind them. The crowd cheered as they thanked everyone for coming and exited the stage.

One of my pet peeves at a concert is the long wait between bands. As awesome as it is to have time to take a break, I get overly excited and I don’t have much patience waiting for a band to come on stage when I’ve waited so many years to see them. Luckily for me, I did not have to wait more than fifteen minutes for the queen of rock herself, Joan Jett, with her signature short black hair and black outfit to start rockin out to Bad Reputation. She looked and sounded exactly how I imagined, straight out of one of her music videos. Most of the songs that they played throughout the (way too short) hour and fifteen minutes were classic songs that I had been listening to since high school. Getting to dance and sing along to “I Love Rock N Roll” was definitely a bucket-list moment, and hearing only the crowd singing “crimson and clover… over and over” was a magical goosebumps kind of feeling. We were lucky enough to get to hear the theme song for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ documentary coming out in September called “Bad Reputation” which I know for sure I will go see once it comes out. I feel privileged to have been there.

I have to say what an incredible job the stage crew did in setting up Styx’s stage in fifteen minutes. That seriously takes some skill and the end result was astounding. They had a walkway, lights set up and I cannot imagine the work that goes into making something like this happen. A quick fifteen minutes and we were back into action with Styx coming out on stage. I must say it is rare that I go to a show with so many people sitting down instead of standing up. It was as though it was a sign of respect to just sit, listen and enjoy the moment. With the keyboard player dancing and having a good time to the guitarists’ kickass solos while throwing their hair back in good old rock n roll fashion, I knew I was at the kind of show I had never experienced before.

The energy was there without the crowd having to stand up and scream. “Are you ready for a fun night of rock n roll Montreal, Laval?” All through the evening they always made a point to say Laval instead of Montreal and spoke French more than most English bands that come to town. I feel in Montreal that we are lucky to have such an amazing relationship with music of all kinds and it warms my heart everytime a band mentions their love of our beautiful province. Did you know Styx sold more albums in Quebec their first year than they did in the United States?! Speaking of which, keyboardist Lawrence Gowan mentioned the right way to steal their music. Sorry, you had to be there. “We were waiting for this for so long and it’s going by so fast” the singer mentioned as they went on to play “Too Much Time On My Hands” which is a song I didn’t know but it didn’t take too long for me to join into the hand clapping. I can only compare it to the urge to clap your hands whenever the FRIENDS theme song comes on. After a standing ovation and an encore, they receive a very deserving second standing ovation. I must confess that one of my favourite Styx song is “Babe” and I was disappointed they did not play it, but who knows, I might get lucky next time they come to town.

Joan Jett setlist

Bad Reputation
Cherry Bomb
Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
Victim of Circumstance
Soulmates to Strangers
You Drive Me Wild
Light of Day
Fake Friends
Love Is Pain
The French Song
Fresh Start
Love Is All Around
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
Crimson & Clover
I Hate Myself for Loving You
Encore:
Real Wild Child (Wild One)
Everyday People

Styx setlist
Overture
Gone Gone Gone
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
Lady
Radio Silence
Rockin’ the Paradise
A Criminal Mind
Miss America
Suite Madame Blue
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Too Much Time on My Hands
Kehei Dive
Bohemian Rhapsody
Come Sail Away

Encore:
Mr. Roboto
Renegade

Review – Jenny Watson

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