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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Concert Review: Styx at the Mountain Winery

Remember Styx? They're still out there touring and putting on a really good show. A few nights ago I spent the better part of an evening at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA standing 15 feet away from Tommy Shaw. Woot!

I still remember the Styx videos from the early days of MTV where Dennis DeYoung was dressed in the black striped vest with a red carnation and Tommy Shaw wore a green jumpsuit. Man that was a loooooooooong time ago!

When hubby mentioned attending the concert I have to admit my first thought was "Styx with no Dennis DeYoung didn't seem like it would really be Styx." But the show was high energy and outstanding... You could see the guys really love to perform and they sounded great.

The Mountain Winery is a cozy outdoor venue.

It was recently remodeled upgrading from its classic wooden benches on dirt to this very modern and comfortable amphitheater.

When we arrived at the winery I tried some Ciao Bella gelato, chocolate hazelnut to be exact. This teeny tiny 3.5 ounce container cost $4. Per ounce it was probably the most expensive ice cream type treat I've ever purchased. I would say it was good but I would probably hold out for a more affordable pint at a grocery store in the future. As far as pricing goes, apparently concert venue food falls right in there with airport and movie theater food.

And then the show began...

The Gary Hoey Band out of Boston was the opening act. They were good and entertaining. Gary plays some mean guitar. He also said his name and that they were from Boston before each of the first three songs they played which I found redundant but hey, look, I remembered his name and where he's from just now! LOL

His style encompasses rock, blues and surf music. If you like any of those genres you should check him out.

And then Styx took the stage...

(Click any image to view an enlargement)

Tommy Shaw (lead vocals and guitar)

James "JY" Young (lead vocals and guitar)

Lawrence Gowan (lead vocals and keyboards)

Ricky Phillips (bass and vocals)

Todd Sucherman (drums)

I have to say it was kind of surreal seeing Tommy Shaw, in person, so close up. He looks great! I read online he is now 57 but he doesn't look it at all. Not even close. He looks very fit and pretty bendy/flexible. Playing guitar his legs go a surprisingly different number of ways, he can do really high kicks and looks like he probably weighs about 90 lbs soaking wet. LOL

The reason we went to the concert was because hubby is a huge fan of Lawrence Gowan, a Canadian music artist who joined the band in 1999 and has since been their keyboardist and one of the three lead singers of the band.

Chuck Panozzo on the left, (a founding member of the group) made a guest appearance and played a few songs that night.

For their encore they ROCKED the Mountain winery playing Renegade. You know how the beginning of the song is Tommy singing A cappella?
Oh momma I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law

Lawman has put an end to my running and I'm so far from my home

Oh momma I can hear you a'crying you're so scared and all alone

Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don't have very long
Well right between the last two lines I saw a gorgeous, bright, shooting star fall from the sky directly above the amphitheater, like right above the band disappearing behind the building the stage resides on. It was so cool! Definitely a memorable moment.

The final note of Renegade and then it was over...

The song and the show.

To make the evening even more memorable, I was lucky enough to get a Tommy Shaw guitar pick when he threw some out to the crowd! Sweet :)

I also thought it was very cool that this is the second concert I've been to this year where you've been allowed to bring in and use a camera. Remember back in the day when bags were searched and cameras were confiscated or you had to go put them back in your car? I guess with the advant of cell phone cameras the venues and performers have given up that battle.

Even though their website says no cameras are allowed at the Mountain Winery performances we were told that cameras with detachable lenses, professional cameras and video cameras were not allowed but my point and shoot, that I forgot was even in my purse, was fine. Here are a few more pics from the show:

James "JY" Young and Ricky Phillips

James "JY" Young

Styx Rocking Out!

James Young, Lawrence Gowan and Tommy Shaw

Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips

Tommy Shaw

Tommy Shaw

My two favorite songs they performed were Come Sail Away with Lawrence Gowan on lead vocals and Renegade, of course, with Tommy singing lead vocals. Classic. Check out their website for more tour dates to see if they'll be performing where you live.

A few great songs were noticeably absent from the play list. Apparently if you want to hear Babe or Mr. Roboto you have to go to a Dennis DeYoung concert as he performs them in his shows :)


  1. That was a very nice review Stacie and great pictures! I can't say that I've ever really been a Styx fan but Tommy Shaw looks way better now than he used to. Hope you both had a good time! :)

  2. Thanks Photogril,

    We did have a great time. I have to say I'm much more a fan of going to concerts where performers sing their songs with all their heart and play their instruments with passion as opposed to the dance/special effect/lip syncing light show productions.

    When a band is onstage, working as a team and they've brought "it" it really doesn't get any better than that :D

  3. LOTS of great photos, Stacie, especially with your handy point-and-shoot. Nice personal review, too, and I'm glad you caught the unique excitement of musicians "on" and in action -- whether performing for fans at a huge concert or serenading at a small dinner party, or something in between. It's a special energizing "in the moment" feeling that people can't define, but always recognize when it's there.

  4. Great review! It's always wonderful to see "new" fans experience the band. The Mountain Winery show was my 101st and they just keep getting better and better!

  5. Thank you Robbie and Dayle!

    @ Robbie, that's so true Robbie, and not just in music. It's always wonderful to see anyone who loves their job and gives it their all. Recently I saw a shoe shiner who clearly loved his job. He took so much pride in his work, enjoyed chatting with other employees who dropped by to say hello and because he shined the shoes of the clients and executives at his company he knew everyone! He pointed out to me the gorgeous sunset he got to see because his shoe shine stand faces a huge window. It was a pleasure to meet him.

    @ Dayle: WOW 101 concerts? Now that is dedication! The most I've ever seen a band was the Eagles, 4 times on their Hell Freezes over tour and once earlier this year and I thought that was a lot :D LOL I am definitely a much bigger fan now than I was before. In fact I haven't been able to get Renegade out of my head since that night.

  6. It was my first concert at the Winery, have lost count of how many Styx shows I've been to, but they are all amazing. That venue is one of the most beautiful I've been to, we had the whole dinner and concert experience and I can't wait for Styx to return so I can do it again. I travel from Canada as much as possible to Styx shows, and this one was one of the most fun.

  7. Great review and pics!! Now you understand why we see Styx over and over and over and over and.....


  8. Ah Joan I live here in the Bay Area but have not done the whole dinner and concert package. Would love to though.

    @ Joyce, Yes, I can see whey you see them over and over. I'd love to see them again someday too :)


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