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News Story
Updated: 02/16/2017 08:30:03AM

Juke Box Heroes

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ROMONA MAKWKA PHOTO

Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, left, and vocalist Kelly Hansen perform last summer. The band will be in St. Augustine on Friday, Feb. 24.

By ALLEN MOODY

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Foreigner is gearing up for its 40th anniversary tour, which is officially scheduled to begin in May, although that hasn’t stopped them from playing a few shows in the meantime. One of those shows will be at the St. Augustine Amphitheater on Friday, Feb. 24, where Kansas will be the opening act.

The 40th anniversary tour will be a reunion of sorts, although it’s still unknown how much the original members will play at each show. But the show in St. Augustine may provide a clue, as original drummer Dennis Elliott and longtime bassist Rick Wills are expected to appear.

There has been a good amount of confusion regarding the rest, with original singer Lou Gramm taking to social media last month to say he hadn’t been asked to perform at any of the anniversary shows. He quickly recanted and said it was all a misunderstanding. Whether it’s for one song or five is the big question, although the universal answer from Gramm is “a couple.”

Tickets are already on sale for the two anniversary shows in August, where Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience are the opening acts. On Aug. 1, Foreigner will play the Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach and they’ll be at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre the following night. Tickets are definitely cheaper for the August shows, as St. Augustine has been declared a “sell out,” although numerous tickets can be found through resellers. If you want to see the show, you won’t have any problem.

While Mick Jones is the lone original member still with the band, several others have been in the group for over a decade, with rhythm guitarist Thom Gimbel a 25-year veteran and vocalist Kelly Hansen now in his 12th year with the band. At this point in time, Hansen sounds more like old Lou Gramm than the old Lou Gramm does, and is easily a better front man, but if given the choice, I’d rather see the original.

It’s tough to know what to expect at St. Augustine, as Jones has missed a fair number of shows in the past four weeks. Whether it’s due to health problems or a case of a 72 year old trying to pace himself for a long summer ahead is pretty much anyone’s guess. But it’s likely he’ll be at St. Augustine for the return of Elliott, who hasn’t been with the band since 1992.

It’s hard to complain about the set list the band plays, which opens with “Double Vision” and ends with “Juke Box Hero.” “I Want to Know Love Is” and “Hot Blooded” have been the traditional encores.

Foreigner fans owe it to themselves to see the band this year, whether it’s next week or in the summer.


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