STYX opened to a sold-out house at the Florida Theater Friday night. Styx opened their set with Grand Illusion to a standing, whistling, screaming audience. For two and a half hours, Styx offered hit after hit to the crowd, who rewarded the band with standing ovations, stomping feet and much love.
It was an intimate affair between Styx and the crowd, with energy created by the band flowing freely and being returned to the band as the audience sang along to hits such as Too Much Time On My Hands, Fooling Yourself, and I Am the Walrus. Tommy Shaw told stories of writing songs and joked and laughed with the crowd throughout the night, while James Young and Chuck Panozzo regaled the crowd with their fantastic guitar playing and vocal harmonies. Lawrence Gowan, a man of unending energy, played the keyboard, danced the stage, and generally entertained us the entire night. His intro to Pieces of Eight was worthy of any concert pianist and filled our hearts with soul stopping music. Styx melodic harmonies were better than ever in this venue as evidenced in Lady, Man In The Wilderness and Light Up.
At the end of their set, Styx brought down the house, asking the crowd to sing along to a medley of songs led by Lawrence Gowan including Sweet Dreams, Bohemian Rhapsody, Dock of the Bay, and Carry On. Closing with Sail Away, Styx took their bows to absolutely non-ending thunderous applause. Returning to the stage, the band treated us to Rocking the Paradise and Renegade. Finished for the evening, the entire band walked to the front of the stage and stayed for several minutes shaking hands and talking with fans.
This was beyond a doubt one of my favorite concerts of the year. If you have any opportunity, go listen to how fantastic Styx sounds. Yes, even bands can get better with age.