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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Styx

Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas

Review by Gary Hill

This brand new live album from Styx is exactly what you’d expect. I’ve said it before, and I’ll stand by it: this current incarnation of the band delivers in ways the group hadn’t in a long time previously. These guys really rock. This also has a guest appearance by Don Felder. Is everything here, prog? No, but some of it is, and in general we put Styx under prog. They certainly qualified in their early years.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Grand Illusion

This classic Styx song powers in with style and majesty. It’s a powerhouse now as much as it was then.

Too Much Time on My Hands
Another faithful rendition, this is a killer tune, too.
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
For some reason, the vocal arrangement on this one seems to work especially well. This is just a great song. It’s not dramatically altered from the studio version, but you can definitely get that live vibe here. I really love the keyboards here, too.
Lady
Somehow this feels a bit modernized to me. Still, it’s got a lot of that early Styx prog meets pop bombast in the delivery. It’s a great rendition. In fact, I like it better than the studio take on the number.
Suite Madame Blue
I’ve always loved this song. This live rendition is a great one, too. You just can’t go wrong with this song.
Light Up
This vintage Styx song holds up quite well. The sound is still fresh. I have always liked this one a lot, and that has not changed even one little bit.
Crystal Ball

A Tommy Shaw penned balladic piece, they deliver a classy rendition of it here.

Superstars

This number is kind of a road less traveled choice. Still, it’s an empowering hard rocker and a great song nonetheless. The extended jam later in the piece is a nice variant from the studio rendition. It’s also quite effective.

Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) featuring Don Felder
If anything, I’d say that this Styx stomper is even stronger here than it is in the studio rendition.
Come Sail Away
I know this is really a Dennis DeYoung trademark song. I’d have to say, though, that he’s not missed on it. Styx deliver this in great fashion. The audience helps a bit in the vocal department. The musical arrangement seems to get a bit of an energy infusion, too. I really love the expanded section later in the piece, too.
Rockin' The Paradise
Although this is one of the more mainstream, straightahead Stys rockers, it’s also strong. This live rendition really rocks.
Renegade
Starting with the acapella section, the audience helps out a bit. They put in a smoking hot rendition here. It’s a great way to end the disc, really. This is purely on fire.
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