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By Joshua Maloni
Though they had other concert options Tuesday – including a reunited Jonas Brothers in Buffalo – 10,000 music lovers chose to watch Foreigner perform at Artpark.
Unfortunately, founding band member Mick Jones chose to skip Lewiston.
Still – and as expected – the audience was into the show, singing along to an efficient setlist of 10 hit songs. It didn't seem to matter that the musicians on stage weren’t original Foreigner members.
To their credit, Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Tom Gimbel (guitar, keys, sax, vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards), Bruce Watson (guitar) and Chris Frazier (drums) gave their all on stage. Yes, there was a lot of filler – rehearsed chitchatting, instrument solos, and extended cuts – but the band ripped through celebrated 1970s and ’80s singles “Double Vision,” “Head Games,” “Cold As Ice,” “Waiting For a Girl Like You,” “Dirty White Boy,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Urgent,” “Jukebox Hero” and “Hot Blooded.”
Foreigner shared the outdoor amphitheater stage with “Artpark Bridges” program members and theatre academy students for their iconic “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
On Monday, Artpark & Company announced, “The choir, made up of about 20 people, has been rehearsing the song over the past few weeks with Artpark Theatre Academy Music Director Patrick Towey.”
“Artpark Bridges” comprised individuals from People Inc., Empower and Upskill: Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division ESL program.
The band graciously agreed to donate a portion of CD sales to “Artpark Bridges.” Hansen reminded the sold-out crowd of the importance of music in school curriculums.
Western New York’s own Thurman Brothers opened the concert. Their opportunity came courtesy of a contest sponsored by 97 Rock.
Despite their flaws – which, to be fair, are mainly music critic issues – Foreigner remains a top draw. The band champions the music, not the members making it, and that makes for a winning live show. The crowd on hand for the final “Tuesdays in the Park” concert of the 2019 season was, no doubt, entertained.
People will be waiting, for a show like this, all winter – daydreaming of next summer’s outdoor performances.