Styx at The Rose in Pasadena, CA

Styx, one of America’s greatest rock bands, one that had 4 platinum albums in a row, 16 top 40 singles in the U.S. with 8 of those making it in the top 10 played The Rose in Pasadena, CA on Feb. 21. The band has had two major anniversaries between 2017 and 2018 which are the 40th anniversaries of the release of their groundbreaking albums Grand Illusion (1977) and Pieces of Eight (1978). For guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, he was celebrating 34 years as a member of Styx and joked about still being the new guy. In Styx’s 46 year history as a band there have been several lineup changes and since 2003 has consisted of guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young  bassist Chuck Panozzo (both original members), Tommy Shaw, Todd Sucherman who joined in 1995 as a temporary replacement for original drummer John Panozzo and became a full time member after Panozzo passed, keyboards/vocalist Lawrence Gowan who replaced founding member Dennis DeYoung in 1999, and lastly bassist Rick Phillips (The Babys, Bad English) who joined in 2003 to help cover Chuck Panozzo’s bass duties after being diagnosed with HIV and focusing on health concerns. Phillips performs the whole show and for three songs Panozzo joins the band which is always very special.

Of the eight songs on The Grand Illusion, Styx performed “The Grand Illusion,” “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man), “Come Sail Away,” “Miss America,” and “Man in the Wilderness.” From Pieces of Eight, Styx performed Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) and Renegade. In recent years, Gowan leads the audience in a sing-along of classic rock songs leading into “Come Sail Away,” but this time around it was of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and part of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay.”

Not only did Styx perform classics, they also played songs off their latest album The Mission released last year. From The Mission, they performed “Gone Gone Gone,” “Khedive,” “Radio  Silence,” and “The Outpost.”

Styx’s headlining tour ends March 3, then they join REO Speedwagon for a co-headline tour with former Eagles member Don Felder opening for most shows on March 13 through April 15th. For the summer, Styx will tour with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Tesla starting at the Five Points Amphitheater in Irvine, CA on May 30 through July 15 when the tour ends in Holmdel, NJ at the PNC Bank arts center.

Photos and text by Alex Kluft