Lou Gramm Band

12 November 2010

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV


In the latter years of Lou Gramm's tenure with Foreigner, the seemingly constant tension between lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist/keyboardist Mick Jones was a divergence in musical tastes. While Jones increasingly wanted to take the band into a more pop-oriented direction, Gramm seemed comfortable with the straight-forward rock sound that the band established in the 1970s.

This tension led to a number of breakups and reunions during the 1980s and 1990s. Lou Gramm's recovery from a brain tumor in 1997 strengthened the bond between the two artists for the Jukebox Hero 2000 and other tours.  Presently however, Mick is touring with a handful of musicians as Foreigner, and Lou is once again out on his own.

One would speculate that Gramm's tour would exploit the artistic freedom by choosing a setlist substantially different from that of the band he left. However, strangely, his setlist on this tour includes several of the pop ballads he supposedly wasn't as big a fan of, including "I Want To Know What Love Is".

Aside from his three biggest solo hits from a couple decades ago, namely "Ready Or Not", "Midnight Blue" and "Just Between You And Me", Gramm & band touched on many of Foreigner's biggest hits, including the opener "Double Vision", as well as "Blue Morning, Blue Day", "Head Games", "Cold As Ice", "Feels Like The First Time", "Dirty White Boy", "Head Games", "Feels Like The First Time", "Jukebox Hero", and "Long Long Way From Home".

Lou & band performed many of the above-mentioned songs 1 or 2 semitones lower than the comparable studio versions, primarily to save of Lou's aging voice which simply does not have the range it used to. Lou is still huskier than his video-age days in Foreigner, though he looked a little lighter than when I first saw him right after his tumor surgery.

No "That Was Yesterday", "Can't Wait", "Heart Turns To Stone", "I Don't Want To Live Without You", or "Say You Will".

This seemed like the loudest concert I'd ever been to, even more dB than the Smithereens.  Lou's band shook every organ and every clothing item I had.

This was a free concert on the main stage in the center of the Fremont Street experience, on the SW corner of Fremont and 3rd Street, right in the center of the so-called Bootleg Canyon Flightlines.  So, as Lou and band were whizzing through classic rock tunes, patrons who paid $20 a head were whizzing over the heads of audience members hanging on to a pulley connected to a two-street-block-long cable. The overhead lighting of the curved pavilion roof, loaded with LEDs, put on a fantastic video and light show throughout the concert.

Though a free concert, crowd control was not a problem, since Lou doesn't attract the same following as Justin Bieber.

Needless to say, the crowd got more than every penny's worth out of the show.

[***1/2] - Steven T.

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