Dennis DeYoung: Live at the Hard Rock Vancouver (March 21, 2014)

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A few days ago, I read the totally awesome review right here on Progarchy of the Dennis DeYoung show in Joliet, Illinois.

I soon realized that Dennis was bringing his show to Vancouver on March 21, 2014! (1981 was the last time he visited the city.)

But I was scheduled to see Yes in Vancouver on March 20. Would I also be able to make it to the DeYoung show?

Well, as it turns out, my wife and I had an amazing time at the Yes show, where we also met new Progarchy friend Paul Fitzgerald of See It Live Canada, who encouraged us to join him at the DeYoung show the next night.

So, in about as much time as it takes to say “SHOW ME THE WAY” we decided to hit the DeYoung show the next evening. After all, I had it on good authority from Progarchy’s Brian Morey that the show would be awesome.

And what can I say? Progarchy is truly here to show y’all the way. Because the show was incredible.

All the musicians were so insanely superb that the Styx songs were actually even more impressive live than on the original recordings, and how many times can you say that about a concert?

I mean, these guys were such pros that they even took in stride the odd technical difficulty, like wireless guitar frequencies suddenly dropping out, and didn’t miss a beat at all. Nothing could stop them from having fun on stage! They turned everything into an occasion for maximum musicality and celebratory joy.

As Brian wrote, DeYoung added a healthy dose of stand-up comedy to the evening, including various jokes about being 67 and yet still on stage acting like an 18-year old. Even all his stage moves had the right balance of self-deprecatory self-awareness and unfiltered joyousness. The amazing thing is that DeYoung is so mega-talented that his voice and keyboard chops are still in prime condition.

Paul captured some of the excitement with his photographs, a few of which I include in this post.

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Brian couldn’t recall the full set list in his excellent review, but thanks to the front-row Styx super-fan named “Chrystal Ball” (indeed, that is how she was introduced to me by Paul), I was able to take a photo of the set list given to her by the band at the end of the evening; here it is reproduced in full below:

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For me, the songs with the biggest emotional impact were “Show Me the Way” (which DeYoung dedicated to Canadians and Americans who serve in the military), and “Best of Times” (which seemed to be the show’s end, but to the crowd giving a standing ovation, DeYoung said that he would skip the silly ritual of going off-stage and pretending not to come back, and then they proceeded to launch right in to the two encore songs), and “Come Sail Away” (which was even more incredible in the prog-enhanced live version than on vinyl).

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But objectively it is hard to pick favorites from the set list, since every song played was a classic track now super-enhanced with live musical adrenaline. Watching the mega-talented axe-men August Zadra and Jimmy Leahey trade off guitar solos or even play in unison was a continual delight throughout the evening. Also, Zadra’s vocals were so incredible that they make that other entity touring under the name “Styx” look merely like a Larry Gowan cover band. I can’t imagine anything better than DeYoung’s show. (Although I guess I should admit that I actually do like the Cyclorama Styx album of 2003.)

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Also part of the touring team are Tom Sharpe on drums, John Blasucci on keyboards, “the Reverend” Craig Carter on bass guitar, and — last but certainly not least — Dennis’ wife Suzanne DeYoung on backing vocals. Married for 44 years, she is the real inspiration for the classic Styx song, “Babe.”

Don’t miss this show! A+ entertainment.

2 thoughts on “Dennis DeYoung: Live at the Hard Rock Vancouver (March 21, 2014)

  1. bryanmorey94

    I’m glad you got to see this show! It was incredible. This is the real Styx, and I wholeheartedly agree that they sounded better than the original recordings. I loved August’s enthusiasm and the love he had for what he was doing, and I think he was better than Tommy Shaw vocally. I was also amazed at how many of the band members were from my area, the Chicago suburbs, and the humor that came with that. Good stuff.

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  2. They actually sound superior to the original recordings, and all the credits go to the terrific performance by the highly exuberant musicians. Since Dennis was there in Vancouver after so many years, you were very lucky to see the grand show. One can imagine the passion of all the artists by the level of accuracy of beats and everything, despite having technical difficulties during the concert. Amazing!

    Like

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