Styx and Foreigner celebrate July 4th in Scranton with Songs of Summer Tour.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

      Two of the biggest and most well known rock bands of all time have been touring alongside each other for what in all honesty seems like forever now. You know what they say right? If it isn’t broken don’t fix it and honestly that holds true for this tour package. Co-headline tours are all the rage in the United States and these two are a match made in heaven, don’t believe me? Well you should probably get out to a show and experience it for yourself.

      This summer’s trek is being billed as the “Songs of Summer” tour and features support from various local acts at each date as well as the legendary Don Felder. Those who may not be familiar with Felder’s career might not know that he was the original guitarist of The Eagles, penning songs like “Hotel California,” “Visions,” and “Too Many Hands.” To call him an “opener” would be a great injustice to his performance because he put on just as great of a show as Styx and Foreigner did honestly. The crowd sang along the entire time eagerly anticipating the end of the set because they knew that Felder would save the biggest song for last, this being “Hotel California.”

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

      Not only was this the last song Felder played, he surprised the crowd when he asked Styx vocalist and guitarist, Tommy Shaw, to join him for the performance for what would be a “iconic” performance of the classic song. Don Felder’s set was a little short but this was to be expected just due to his position on the bill, plenty of fans felt encourage to go check out the merchandise area after his set to see what he had to offer and the majority of the crowd made sure to come out early for his performance. Don Felder was a perfect addition to this already great tour package, the last time Styx and Foreigner toured together there wasn’t an artist of this caliber kicking the night off and I think that the addition of Felder made the night even more special.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

      After a short set change over things were all prepped for Styx to hit the stage, this being different from the last leg of this tour which saw them closing the evening. Does it really matter who plays first in a co-headline tour? The answer is  no, not really because each band puts on an equal performance in terms of quality though Styx played a lot more songs than Foreigner did but I will get to that later.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

      Styx’ arrival on stage is certainly exciting to say the least, behind them large LED screens flicker to life as imagery of all sorts begins to flash and the massive lighting rigs that the tour brought with them began to fire up to full capacity. One by one the band marched across the back of the stage before breaking into the first song of their set “Grand Illusion.” Tommy Shaw sounded superb on vocals that evening, better than I had ever heard him before in fact. The entire band had fun playing and even made jest about their recent tour bus fire a few nights prior in Philadelphia. The setlist was filled with all the songs you would expect to hear like “Come Sail Away” and “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).

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      The band even invited Don Felder out to perform “Blue Collar Man” which was met to a roaring applause from the crowd. The seated parted of the arena itself was full for Styx performance though the lawn area wasn’t really needed with only a handful of people scattered about it. As Styx performance came to a close with an incredible performance of “Renegade” you could see the crowd start to shuffle towards the exits. It was shocking to see nearly 1/4th of the amphitheater up and leave after Styx which certainly made me wonder if they should have been the ones closing the night. As the crew began to take down their elaborate stage and set up for Foreigner many were left wondering if the next set could possibly top the grade A performance that Styx just put on for the Montage Mountain crowd.

Photo by Matt Christine Photography
Photo by Matt Christine Photography

       At long last it was time for the 4th of July Celebration to come to an end with a closing performance from Foreigner, who brought a stage set up with them the likes which I haven’t seen in a long time. A huge logos was hung in the background that reminded was visible from the way back of the venue until late in the set when the stage was obscured with fog and lasers were projected in all directions.

      Their performance was just as good as Styx and just as good as the last time I saw this tour package. Kelly Hanson is a great vocalist and he makes sure that all the photographer’s get some attention while he is performing as he strikes up poses amongst other things. The crowd was surprised when original guitarist Mick Jones came out on song 5 to perform with the band and did so with as much grace as he did back in the day. Their set flew by a lot quicker than Styx and with the venue already decreased in size it was sad to see even more people leave half way through in attempt to beat the awful traffic from the Montage Mountain venue.

      The show came to end with a triumphant performance of “Hot Blooded” and the remaining crowd began to departing, having spent their July 4th holiday seeing one of the greatest tours in classic rock history.

Be sure to check out our exclusive galleries of Styx and Foreigner from Matt Christine Photography :

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