Foreigner – Then and Now Tour 2018 – Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, CA – 11/10/18.
Review and Pictures: Diane Lynn
A Foreigner show is always something you look forward to, especially when you have tickets to one of only two nights scheduled on the west coast for an all-star cast, past and present, reunion show and that show is SOLD OUT!
Agua Caliente Casino in the beautiful city of Rancho Mirage played host to the second of those two nights and this was the jam of all jams for Foreigner fans!
The current lineup started us off with several classics hits such as “Head Games” and “Juke Box Heroes”, also digging deep into the Foreigner catalog playing songs like “Yesterday” and one that Kelly Hansen referred to as “one of our most requested but usually don’t have the time to include in the set”, “Head Knocker”.
They started us off with a high energy set and it stayed that way until the last note was played.
The first song of the night, “Cold as Ice”, had Kelly jumping off stage into the audience to mix with the fans, dancing and high fiving as he made his way around the floor. Throughout their set they gave us a mini drum solo with Chris Frazier behind the kit then adding in a mini keyboard solo with Michael Bluestein in charge. Of course you can’t start out the song “Urgent” without a killer Sax solo by the one and only Thom Gimbel. The guitars had the talents Jeff Pilson on bass and Bruce Watson on lead guitar to keep the audience on their feet!
The Foreigner fans were out in full force on this special night and they knew they were in for an awesome show!
Current Line Up
Kelly Hansen – Vocals
Chris Frazier – Drums
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Thom Gimbel – Guitar and Sax
Bruce Watson – Lead Guitar
Michael Bluestein – Keyboards
Set list for the Current Line Up
Cold as Ice
Waiting for a girl like you
Juke Box Heroes
A two minute break was announced at the end of the first set to which the crowd responded with Sighs and Grumbles, but before we knew it Kelly was back on stage announcing the eagerly awaited Original Line Up!
As each member was announced the crowd grew louder and louder with applause, whistles and cheers. Of course when the final two original members were announced, Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, the fans went, well – fanatical!
Original Line Up
Lou Gramm – Vocals
Mick Jones – Guitar and Keyboard
Rick Wills – Bass
Ian McDonald – Sax
Al Greenwood – Keyboard
Dennis Elliott – Drums
Lou, Mick and the rest of the original’s started us off with what I think was the most appropriate song, “Feels Like the First Time” and they totally rocked it just like they used to… they sounded fantastic!
Lou Gramm’s vocals were strong, he sang each lyric without missing a word and when you add in the talents of Mick Jones on guitar, the still hard hitting Dennis Elliott on drums, Ian McDonald giving us some sweet sounds on sax, Al Greenwood on keyboards and Rick Wills on bass to round things out – you have a mind blowing blast from the past!
Seeing and hearing Lou Gramm singing this night was a major “stop and pause” moment for me as I realized that it was 40 years ago that I last heard him singing with the band and if my memory serves me correctly this was thee very line up that played 40 years ago this year at the Cal Jam II in March of 1978. (with the exception of Ed Gagliardi on bass, who sadly passed in 2014).
The second half brought us a killer set of classic Foreigner hits such as “Double Vision” and my favorite “Blue Morning”. I don’t think there was a single fan sitting down in this beautiful venue. Seeing the Original lineup together was the moment everyone was waiting for and it was finally here and the fans were soaking it all in. How could you not with Lou and Mick back on stage, together, playing all of the Foreigner songs we loved so much… and still do!
Set List for the Original Line Up
Feels Like the First Time
Long Way from Home
Dirty White Boy
The last two songs of the night brought the “Then and Now” members all out at once. What a sight to see, all of them together on stage! It was smiles all around as they jammed the final two songs together.
The full cast started us out with “I Want to Know What Love Is”, with Lou and Kelly sharing lead vocal duties while the others shared their respective parts of the song. Mid-way though the first of the two encores The Rancho Mirage High School Choir came out on stage to sing back up/chorus on this beautiful, classic hit.
I have to note that Foreigner donated $500 to the choir for their appearance. Also, the members of the choir were helping to sell CD’s before the show in an attempt to raise funds for The Grammy Foundation which is a strong promoter in trying to keep music education in all public schools.
The last song of the night was one that still gets the fans going just as it did on the day it was released, “Dirty White Boy”.
This was the final night of the two west coast dates and they now head East for two more shows of the Then and Now 2018 Tour.
As they took their final bow at the end of the night I was definitely feeling lucky to have been able to witness to this reunion! What a concert, what a night! Thank you Foreigner, Then and Now!