Gig review: Foreigner still going strong after all these years

KEEP ON ROCKIN': Foreigner's Mick Jones, left and singer Kelly Hansen at Sheffield City Hall. Picture courtesy of Adam Kennedy.
KEEP ON ROCKIN': Foreigner's Mick Jones, left and singer Kelly Hansen at Sheffield City Hall. Picture courtesy of Adam Kennedy.
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AS it had been 38 years since Mick Jones had formed Foreigner and with Jones being the only original band member remaining, could the band live up to my high expectations? The answer, quite simply, was a resounding yes.

With a sell-out show at Sheffield City Hall and a mixed audience ranging from 10-years-old to 85-years-old, it was one of those nights where you again realised that good bands don’t necessarily have to have a steady stream of top 10 hits - simply that good music is passed on down the generations.

Multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel gave a wonderful performance, while lead singer Kelly Hansen was determined to encourage audience participation and, on two occasions, wandered out into the crowd, balancing delicately on the back of chairs.

I was slightly concerned by Jones’s absence, but that was soon replaced by relief when he appeared on stage after the fourth song. It was worth the wait. Appropriately, his first song with the band was ‘Feels Like The First Time’. Jones played as well as we’ve come to expect with the band continually vivacious.

Having heard Foreigner play a fantastic, extended version of ‘Juke Box Hero’ in Manchester back in 2012, but having never been a huge fan of ‘Urgent’ in its recorded format, I was surprised to find myself thinking that ‘Urgent’ may well have been the highlight of the show, with superb sax playing from Gimbel.

A very close second was the monster hit ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, complimented by the moving tones of the Sheffield Girls High School Choir accompanying the band.

While it was a pleasant surprise to hear the lesser-known ‘That Was Yesterday’, Foreigner would have done themselves no harm by including one or two songs from their current studio album.

After Foreigner played out to ‘Hot Blooded’, they waited around to sign autographs and hand out memorabilia to fans - always a nice, down-to-earth touch.

Gig date: April 8.