August 4th, 2007
Trump Marina, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Review and photos by Johnny Rodgers, TCE field correspondent
It was steamy and hot down at the Jersey shore... the kind of heat that makes it hard to breathe. Almost dizzy from the heat, I head to the brilliantly lit and heavenly air-conditioned oasis of the Trump Marina.
On this night, there was a completely different kind of heat firing up the rock and roll faithful, a show I had looked forward to seeing for quite some time; the multi-platinum hit machine Foreigner. It would be hard to find someone that couldn't sing one of their many hooks as their music has been ever-present for the past thirty years.
As a kid growing up I related to vocal great Lou Gramm as he sang the mega hit, “Cold As Ice,” as one who has felt the same angst and anger over lost love. Since their inception in 1976 it’s been hit after hit from “Feels Like The First Time”, “Long Long Way From Home”, “Double Vision”, “Head Games”, “Dirty White Boy”, “Urgent”, ”Juke Box Hero”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, and the gospel flavored chorus of “I Want To Know What Love Is” that has solidified the sheer brilliance of this band.
Many will argue that this is not the same Foreigner we knew and loved without the signature trademark vocal brilliance of former frontman Lou Gramm. Yes, it is true the only original member of that first line up is the multi talented songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and producer Mick Jones. Through the years the band has had many lineup changes with members going on to do studio work, live tours with different artists and solo projects, which altered the shape and sound of Foreigner both live and on record. For a short time Lou Gramm returned to the band reuniting the great songwriting duo of Jones / Gramm but we rarely got to enjoy any new material from the two due to Gramm’s sudden unfortunate diagnosis of a brain tumor.
For a time, the outlook for the band did not seem very promising until Jones had an impromptu jam session with Jason Bonham that proved to reignite the fire to create what is now a new Foreigner. The completion of the current lineup proves to be a mega band of sorts featuring bassist Jeff Pilson, (Dokken), longtime Foreigner members Jeff Jacobs on keyboards (Billy Joel), Tom Gimbel on rhythm guitar / sax (Aerosmith) and the most difficult position to fill - that of lead vocalist by the awesome Kelly Hansen (Hurricane). If not a mega band, they are at least one hell of a cover band.
With a packed house of mixed ages, Foreigner hit the stage with the familiar guitar riff of “Double Vision”. Any doubts about the ability of this unfamiliar band were quickly laid to rest in a powerful punch of tight, super energized songs delivered with major force. Kelly Hansen interpreted every song brilliantly adding his own style and flash to the vast vocal range of the Foreigner catalog... Lou Gramm must be proud! Hansen was in constant motion all night. I could not help but notice a definite likeness to a younger Steven Tyler. His demeanor was relaxed with a ton of crowd interaction. His vocal abilities have become amazing since his work in Hurricane - a very soulful voice with great control.
Hanson also has the ability to bring the vibe down in the emotional lows of the ballads and deliver great raspy power and range on the heavier material. In my opinion, Kelly was the perfect choice for the band. The guitar work, as expected with Foreigner, is total blues laden rock with memorable guitar riffs that are immediately recognizable to any fan of rock & roll. Mick played his usual custom Les Paul throughout the night delivering a thick guitar tone. Another cool part of the show was Mick playing keys and a very unique acoustic guitar handling at the beginning lead vocal part on “Starrider”. The rhythm section of the band was thick and powerful all night with the heavy drumming of Jason Bonham, and the steady pulse of Jeff Pilson.
The whole band sang a myriad of vocal harmonies throughout the night. On the ballad “Waiting…” they came down to the right front of the stage for a stunning acapella version with Mick on stage left playing acoustic guitar and vocals. It was amazing! On the song “Urgent” Tom Gimbel, who has played clarinet, guitar, sax and other instruments with the best of them, laid down a killer show stopping sax solo. Mick teased the crowd with a Jimmy Page guitar riff and then bated the crowd saying, “maybe later.” After Jason’s drum solo they paid homage to his father by doing a monster version of the Led Zep classic, “Rock & Roll.”
I highly recommend this show to any that love hard melodic rock. The band delivers on all fronts! This, my rock and roll compatriots, IS as good as it gets.
Double Vision, Head Games, Cold As Ice, Blue Morning, Waiting, Dirty White Boy, Say You Will, Starrider, Feels Like The First Time, Urgent, Juke Box Hero / Rock & Roll
Encore: Long, Long Way From Home, I Want To Know What Love Is, Hot Blooded
Very special thanks go out to Foreigner for a killer show. Jeff Albright - publicist extraordinaire, The Trump Marina staff, Foreigner Tour Staff & Crew and Jim Rice for photo work and Vast musical knowledge
All photos by Johnny Rodgers. Contact: email@example.com,
Band website: Foreigner