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Foreigner: Alive And Rockin' (DVD)

It might amaze you to realize this but the band Foreigner has been around for a little over thirty years now and despite numerous lineup changes since their inception they are still rocking hard as is made evident by this DVD filmed during the 2006 "Bang Your Head" festival in Berlingen, Germany. I admit that I never expected to find the band on the same stage as that of Anvil, Helloween and Stratovarius but here they were and as a result there is a lot of great music to enjoy during their set. The Foreigner of 2006 is far from being the band of early historical record outside of journeyman performer and founder Mick Jones, but he has assembled a lineup that is high on talent and experience when it comes down to the business at hand and each member does justice to the music that many of us grew up on or had discovered as they searched through their parents record collections. Kelly Hansen, formerly of Hurricane, is in place of Lou Gramm on vocals and if you have never heard him before you are in for a treat since he has some of the best pipes to this day. He hits all the highs and even outdoes his predecessor in terms of Rock & Roll stage presence when it comes right down to it. Hey, you don't front an 80's Metal band and just stand there after all. On bass we have Jeff Pilson, formerly of Dokken and even a part of Dio's lineup at one time so you just know that this part of the rhythm section is in good hands. The thunder on the drums is care of none other than the legendary John Bonham's own son Jason who over the years has really been doing his father's memory proud by accomplishments and building a stand out reputation of his own as a classy and powerful drummer. The band is rounded out by Jeff Jacobs (keyboards) and Tom Gimbel (saxophone, guitar, and flute) and together they are all able to give Foreigner the big sound that their tunes require in the live sense.

As you might expect this is not the full set that one would see should they attend a full on Foreigner concert but it is the complete performance from Bang Your Head which is probably why all of the songs are the bands biggest hits. It wastes no time in getting your attention as "Double Vision" begins and we get to hear just how good Hansen can handle the tunes that were once very ably delivered by Gramm. I found that by the time "Head Games" had started that Kelly was even getting some of the inflections and melodies as close to the record as they could be. Mick Jones seems very pleased with the lineup as you watch him playing his guitar and quite honestly this is the heaviest that the band has ever sounded to me and there was a little bit of a youthful vibe going on as well. The audience that had been enjoying more Metal than you could imagine was looking like the enjoyed this stuff as well and many were singing along to the choruses. If you win over a crowd like this with legendary classics in the Rock book of songs then you know your material has done its job very well. A good song is a good song is one of my mantras and I think even the heaviest of Metal fans enjoys tracks like "Dirty White Boy" and the blockbuster hit "Juke Box Hero". The latter track finds a melding with Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" so Jason gets to bring his Dad's presence up front and center for all of the fans pleasure and oddly enough the two songs work very well together. There were only nine songs performed it would seem and that means some stuff was left out for the set and while it saddened me to not find "Long Way From Home" on the list as its been one of my favored tracks, I was happy to see they omitted the ballads like "I Want To Know What Love Is" since that would have slowed down the momentum to dangerous levels in front of a crowd like this. The bonus features are limited to interviews with Jones, Hansen and Bonham and some of the others but in the end the film is a worthwhile time as it brings new life to some truly classic tunes. I know that it sent me back to dig out my Foreigner CD's to rock out to once again and has me very interested in checking out a live show when they return to my area. The material sounded so fresh with this new lineup I dare close this out by saying that "It Feels Like The First Time". I'm sorry, I know that the joke was as "Cold As Ice", but I just couldn't help myself. Get rocking with Foreigner and either remember, or learn that good songs are those that always sound exciting and finds you moving. Great job guys.

Track Listing
1. Double Vision
2. Head Games
3. Dirty White Boy
4. Cold As Ice
5. Starrider
6. Feels Like The First Time
7. Urgent
8. Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love
9. Hot Blooded

Added: February 4th 2008
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Foreigner Website
Hits: 2999
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Foreigner: Alive And Rockin' (DVD)
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-02-04 13:34:08
My Score:

Foreigner's founding guitarist Mick Jones couldn't have picked a finer replacement for Lou Gramm than Kelly Hanson. The former Hurricane vocalist appears to have slipped right into some mighty big shoes as evidenced by this DVD capturing Foreigner's brief but potent middle-of-the-bill set at Germany's 2006 Bang Your Head festival an event, as Hansen describes it in a 15-minute bonus interview, with many "dark bands." Significantly (and no doubt wisely, considering the setting), there are no ballads here. In fact, no tune in the 10-song set was written after 1981.

Jones and Hansen who matches Gramm's vocals note for note and works the stage with all the right rock-star poses anchor what is arguably Foreigner's best lineup in years. Former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Jason Bonham combine to inject extra oomph in the band's bottom end, and keyboardist Jeff Jacobs and guitarist Tom Gimbel (who wows the metalheads with a sax solo) are seasoned Foreigner vets. Despite the over-reliance on one camera that provides crotch shots of Hansen at the front of the stage, Alive & Rockin' proves at least a couple of things: One, a band of aging musicians still oozing talent can sound tighter and more professional than most of their hard-rock peers, and two, Foreigner's classic catalog still holds up.

Foreigner: Alive And Rockin' (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-11-03 15:14:49
My Score:

If you ever needed validity that Foreigner were, at its core, a hard rock band, look no futher than this 2006 set from Germany's Bang Your Head Festival. After finding themselves on a bill with tons of mostly metal bands and in front of a large open air crowd in Germany, the revamped line-up of Foreigner literally rocked the house and turned any nay-sayers into fans with their blistering set of hits that focused on the rockers instead of the ballads. Mick Jones, with Jason Bonham, Kelly Hansen, Jeff Pilson, Jeff Jacobs, and Tom Gimbel in tow, blast through classics like "Hot Blooded", "Head Games", "Cold As Ice", "Urgent", "Juke Box Heroes", "Double Vision", "Dirty White Boy", "Feels Like the First Time", and even the wonderful, progressive, "Starrider". It's great to see all the young metal fans in the audience totally getting into this band, who play like a bunch of hungry veterans, delivering the songs the way they sounded back on the original albums, full of grit, power, and class. Foreigner are back folks, and although it's far from being the original band, they are delivering these great songs better than ever. Let's hope this line-up stays together and brings some new music as well as plenty of future shows like this one.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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