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Foreigner and Loverboy sizzle in the Houston heat (2023)

One of rock and roll’s most iconic bands arrived in The Woodlands this past weekend to bid farewell to its fans of nearly 50 years.

Rock band Foreigner returned to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands on Saturday, (Aug. 12, 2023) during its current leg of the band’s farewell tour. Canadian rock act Loverboy served as the special guest.

Nearly every song in Foreigner’s set is a well-known rock radio staple and the band wasted little time in setting the tempo for the night. The group opened with “Double Vision” and moved directly into “Head Games” and “Cold as Ice,” before hitting a change of pace with “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “Dirty White Boy.”

The group then changed things up with a short acoustic set which featured rarely performed songs “When It Comes to Love,” “Girl on the Moon,” and “Say You Will.”  Vocalist Kelly Hansen introduced each member of the band prior to the acoustic performance, including guitarist, Bruce Watson; keyboardist, Michael Bluestein; drummer, Chris Frazier; new guitarist, Louis Maldonado, and bassist, Jeff Pilson.

Pilson, who is normally roaming the stage each performance, was seated near the drums the entire performance, due to a case of “oldness,” as stated by Hansen during his introduction. Whatever Pilson’s current situation, it evoked an emotional response from Hansen during the introductions as it was quite obvious how deep the friendships are between this group. As Pilson introduced Hansen and praised his attributes as a vocalist and person, Hansen again become emotional and wiped away tears.

Despite none of these men being original members of the band, flying the banner of Foreigner and its music is much more than just a job. It is their passion and their life’s breath, and it shows during each performance.

Following the acoustic set the band hit the home stretch of big hits starting with its first ever single, “Feels Like the First Time” released in March 1977. It was followed by “Urgent,” a keyboard solo and drum solo, and “Juke Box Hero” which featured Hansen singing from a rising pedestal in the middle of the crowd. For encores the group performed “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded.”

As great as the band’s performance was, it was a bit of a disappointment that founding member and sole remaining original member, Mick Jones, was absent. It has been a common occurrence for Jones to miss smaller markets over the years, so there were high hopes he would be participating on the farewell tour. Hopefully as is well with Mr. Jones and he can join the bandmembers on the road before the farewell tour concludes.

Canadian rock act Loverboy opened the show promptly at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, and didn’t let the brutal Texas heat this summer slow the down. Despite a high temp of 102 degrees that afternoon and still a brisk 96 degrees at the conclusion of the Loverboy set, it was a great 60-minute set of good time rock and roll.

Vocalist Mike Reno still sounds fantastic and it was evident throughout the night on songs such as “Notorious,” “Queen of the Broken Hearts,” and “Heaven in Your Eyes.” The band features guitarist, Paul Dean; bassist, Ken Sinnaeve; drummer, Matt Frennette; and keyboardist, Doug Johnson, and still sounds great as well.

Fans were standing throughout the set and dancing in the aisles to songs “The Kid is Hot Tonite,” “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “Turn Me Loose,” and “Working for the Weekend.”

It may have been another brutally hot day in the Houston-region on Saturday, but it was definitely hot inside the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion with a great concert featuring Foreigner and Loverboy. If you get a chance to catch this farewell tour in your area, then do so. You will not be disappointed.

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