The voice of ’70’s rock band Foreigner echoed through the Oak Nightclub in Transcona on May 1 and it didn’t ‘Feel Like The First Time’ that this ‘Jukebox Hero’ sang these ‘Hot Blooded’, ‘Dirty White Boy’ tunes.
Lou Gramm, vocalist and main songwriter for Foreigner, still has the pipes to belt out these classic hits. Gramm’s band, billed as ‘Lou Gramm – The Voice of Foreigner’, are very tight and played the songs magnificently. The fans were chewing it up as quickly as the band was spitting it out.
The band consists of his brother Ben Gramm on drums, Michael Staertow on guitar, AD Zimmer on bass, and Andy Knoll on keyboards. And of course Lou Gramm himself, on vocals. He even pulled out the cowbell for ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’.
Gramm and co-founder Mick Jones didn’t see eye to eye on the direction of the band and Gramm left Foreigner in May of 1990. He released two solo albums, Ready or Not (1987) and Long Hard Look (1989) while still in Foreigner. And in 2009 released the album Lou Gramm Band.
Foreigner formed in New York in 1976 and they released their debut album in March of ’77. The band produced not only hard-hitting rockers but some very beautiful ballads such as, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ (which went to number 1 and was one of their biggest hits) and ‘I Have Waited So Long’. The band went on to sell over 80 million albums.
On June 13, 2013 Lou Gramm and his old Foreigner collaborator Mick Jones were inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
It was nice to see Gramm and the band in such an intimate setting where he literally reached out and touched everyone. Well not quite everyone, but he did high five and shake hands with the people in front of the stage. The audience sang along to many of the tunes that they knew by heart.
Not just another ’70’s band cashing in on the old glory, Lou Gramm wrote some classic tunes with Foreigner and as a solo artist, and the audience was treated to a high energy show.
It started off with the huge hit from the album of the same name Double Vision. After a few more Foreigner hits and a couple of solo tunes, Gramm did a solemn version of ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’.
Then they moved into high gear with ‘Dirty White Boy’ and ‘Urgent’ after which the band left the stage leaving the drummer, who was enclosed in a plexiglass structure that looked like a big fishbowl, on his own for a very powerful drum solo.
The band came back and did a couple blue songs (‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’ and ‘Midnight Blue’) ending the set with ‘Juke Box Hero’ a song about a young man who couldn’t get into a sold out concert and was so impressed with the roar of the crowd that he was determined to make it big and bought a guitar. “Now he needs to keep on rockin’, he just can’t stop, gotta keep on rockin’, that boy has got to stay on top.”
The fans weren’t gonna let them stop that easy and started a chant of “Lou Lou Lou”. He didn’t come back just yet but the rest of the band came back for a nice rocking little jam before the ‘Voice of Foreigner’ joined them for ‘Long Long Way From Home’ and ending off the evening with ‘Hot Blooded’.
Lou Gramm came out to the merchandise table and signed CD’s, LP’s, photos and his biography Juke Box Hero and posed for pictures and chatted with the appreciative fans.
Ready or Not (solo)
Feels Like The First Time
Just Between You and Me (solo)
Cold As Ice
That Was Yesterday
I Want To Know What Love Is
Dirty White Boy
Blue Morning, Blue Day
Midnight Blue (solo)
Long Long Way From Home
All photos by Doug Kretchmer