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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Foreigner

Alive and Rockin’

Review by Gary Hill

Foreigner got into some seriously generic and one might say “wimpy” music at some points in their career. It lost them some respect in the minds of many rock fans. That’s a shame because they really have created some great hit songs with a real rocking edge over the years. While Mick Jones is the only original member of the band still in the group, Kelly Hanson’s performance as singer is probably the biggest departure. The thing is, at times it’s hard to believe there has been a change, his vocals sound so close. With only one exception, though, I’d have to say that I prefer Hansen’s vocals over Lou Gramm’s. I know, that might be blasphemous, but it’s the truth. It’s also the truth that no matter how you feel about this lineup, these guys rock and this set is packed with Foreigner hits.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Double Vision

This Foreigner powerhouse is delivered with style.

Head Games

I’ve always liked this tune and they give us a great live rendition here. The hard rocking jam later in the track really screams. It’s sometimes easy to forget that Foreigner have generally known how to rock hard when they want to, and the guitar soloing on this certainly proves it.

Dirty White Boy

Always one of the group's harder rocking tunes, this one just plain screams.

Cold As Ice

Certainly one of the band’s biggest hits, this has always been one of my favorites from them. I really like all the multiple layers of vocals included here. This is a killer rendition of a great tune and has a nice keyboard solo in the midst of it.

Starrider

While this tune might not be an obvious standout track from the band, it’s always been one of my favorites. Perhaps that’s because the keyboard heavy arrangement was one of the proggiest from Foreigner. They really seem to expand on that theme in this live telling. The vocals on the early part aren’t as successful as on the rest of the set, but later they work well. This is a killer tune, both in the studio rendition and this live one.

Feels Like The First Time

Here we get another Foreigner classic. This one rocks out well with the mysterious edge retaining despite the fact that it seems to rock out a lot harder here.

Urgent
They add an extended melodic jam as the introduction to this Foreigner classic. While this was a huge hit for the band, it’s never been one of my favorites. Really, the only two things it’s ever had going for it were the vocal performance and the saxophone solo. Of course, the fact that they extend that sax solo out into a killer jam helps to sell this live rendition.
Juke Box Hero / Whole Lotta Love
There’s an extended introduction to this track, too. That intro is a keyboard and percussion heavy romp. They put in a great version of this classic, too. It’s always been a rocker and this band seems especially capable of really rocking. They include a couple guitar solo heavy jams that work really well on this tune. It modulates out from there into Foreigner’s take on Led Zeppelin and it’s really a great version. It pays homage to the original source material while bringing a definite Foreigner edge to it.
Hot Blooded

They close the disc with another smoking hot version of a Foreigner classic.

 
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