Styx Live In Las Vegas
On Saturday Night Live this week, Greta Van Fleet staked their claim to the future of classic rock-n-roll. On Sunday night in Las Vegas, Styx made a powerful case of their own with a set of new songs that more than held their own against the band’s legendary songbook. Confidently delivering their entire new album, The Mission, as an opening set, the band captured our imaginations with an ambitious concept album about a trip to Mars in 2033. It was an over-the-top art rock spectacle with tender ballads orbiting arena-sized anthems. In other words, it was Styx sounding better than ever.
While many 70s classic rock bands can still fill the summer sheds on co-headlining tours that focus on the hits, Styx took a different path on Sunday night that was far more rewarding for everyone involved. The band challenged the audience to stick with them for an entire set of new material and then rewarded them with a second set that reeled off a string of unforgettable classics. The crowd embraced both sets enthusiastically and more than a few were singing along with new songs. Proving their versatility, the band took the crowd on a prog-rock trip with “Time May Bend”, a song which would challenge even Rush with it’s technical precision, while the soaring chorus of “The Outpost” threatened to blow a stadium sized hole through the roof.
Guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young traded blistering solos throughout the night while Lawrence Gowan owned every inch of the stage while not spinning behind his keyboard. One of rock’s all-time greats, drummer Todd Sucherman, often stole the moment with lightning fast fills that pushed the band to keep up. The most endearing moments, however, belonged to original bassist Chuck Panozzo who was a welcome sight on several songs. Best of all, the shared smiles and banter between the musicians told a story of friendship and love of music that came through in the performance. Styx are every bit as important to rock-n-roll today as they were at the peak of their commercial success. And yes, they played “Mr. Roboto”.