Exclusive photos from Foreigner's unplugged show at Lincoln Center.
At an American Songbook show, one should expect some backstory to the music. As Foreigner have been performing without co-founder Lou Gramm for over a decade now, the onus of sharing tidbits from the band's history fell to Mick Jones. Jones described how the band recorded some of their songs nearby and their record label was a block or two over, above where Starbucks is now. On the other hand, Kelly Hansen, the vocalist/replacement for Gramm, shared more recent stories of the band, including an acoustic show in Europe, and ribbed Jones for forgetting to introduce him. Both were ecstatic to be playing in the Appel Room, with it's huge windows overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park.
I must confess, I was somewhat uncertain as to what songs were Foreigner's hits going into this American Songbook show. It was only a few days prior to the show that I learned they aren't the band who do "The Final Countdown" song (that's Europe) that's been playing in one commercial recently. Fortunately it turned out I knew many of their songs, and more than the two I expected (those two are "Cold as Ice" and "I Want to Know What Love Is"). The band began with "Double Vision" which I immediately recognized, and I knew "Jukebox Hero" that was played later.
Hansen proved more than capable of fill Gramm's vocal shoes and the crowd loved every minute of the show. One man tried to encourage everyone to stand up practically begging as he asked them, 'this is a rock show isn't it?'. And I was surprised more people didn't take the loud hint and rise to their feet but there was a noticeable age difference between that fan and most in the audience. For me, attending a Foreigner show was very worthwhile both as entertainment and as a learning experience. The band have a treasured legacy and for those who didn't make this show, Foreigner will be releasing a live acoustic record, The Hits Unplugged and Live later this year.
Visit the American Songbook site to get more information on upcoming shows including Luluc and Terri Lyne Carrington.
Say You Will
Waiting for a Girl
When it Comes to Love
Fool For You Anyway
Dirty White Boy
That's All Right
Girl on the Moon
Cold As Ice
Feels like the First Time
I Want to Know What Love Is