October 7, 2019
Review by Joseph Hett / Photos by Greg Perry
Styx Is Spectacular In Columbia
Styx made their triumphant return to Columbia, SC at the historic Township Auditorium on Sunday night. It was a treat to get a full solo show by Styx versus the condensed version when they are in a package tour with two other acts.
When the announcement was made that the show would be two hours with a 20-minute intermission in the middle, everyone knew it would be an eventful evening.
It was show time when the lights dimmed and audio clips about the moon landing started to play. The backdrop had the Styx band logo in space accompanied by celestial bodies. Styx is clearly embracing the space theme thanks to their latest album about a mission to Mars called “The Mission” (2017).
James “JY” Young (guitar and vocals), Tommy Shaw (guitar and vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums), Lawrence Gowan (keyboard and vocals) and Ricky Phillips (bass) all came out and started up with a new one called “Overture/Gone Gone Gone.” They would go on to feature four other songs from “The Mission” during the whole show.
Once Gowan hit the opening keyboard chords to “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” everyone in attendance perked up a bit. They kept the momentum going with the classics “The Grand Illusion” and “Lady.”
Since this was a solo Styx show, they were able to showcase more of their deeper album cuts like “Snowblind” and “Light Up,” where Young instructed everyone to hold up their cell phone lights to “light up” the venue.
Shaw brought out his acoustic guitar for “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).” Phillips actually shook the auditorium with that song’s signature bass line. Sometimes original bassist Chuck Panozzo makes a guest appearance at Styx shows, but he did not come out at this one.
Gowan put on a top hat and black sparkly jacket to help create a party atmosphere of “Rockin’ The Paradise.” He bounced around the whole stage like the showman that he is.
They closed the first set out with the slow building to full out hard rock of “Suite Madame Blue.”
After the brief intermission, Young got everyone pumped back up with the riffing “Miss America.”
Shaw remained onstage while holding an acoustic 12-string guitar as the others left. He performed “Come Again,” originally done by the Damn Yankees. He then went into 1976’s “Crystal Ball” from the album with the same name. The whole band returned when the song really got cranked up.
Shaw mentioned that it seemed like they just had started the show and now they were approaching the end. They then went into “Too Much Time On My Hands.” It is weird how time flies when you’re having fun.
Gowan faced his back towards the audience, so his blazing tickling of the ivories could be showcased for “Khedive.” Gowan then paid tribute to Freddie Mercury with the operatic portion of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Everyone came back out to close the set with an epic performance of “Come Sail Away.”
Back for the encore, they brought out “Mr. Roboto.” The return of this song has been highly publicized recently, but it was nice to finally get to hear the Styx classic live. Shaw got “Renegade” started while white confetti and red streamers shot out and covered the front orchestra section.
It is always a pleasure to watch Styx perform since they look like they are actually having fun along with the crowd. Their musicianship is phenomenal! While those multiple band tour packages are great, it was so much nicer to get the full Styx experience at one of their solo shows. Hopefully if won’t be another eight years until they come back to Columbia.