Concert Review: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx
© The Flash List | Sherri Tilley | October 13, 2012
Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Is there anything more sublime than the combination of classical music and classic rock? To us, the crossover of these two genres (think "November Rain," "No Leaf Clover," "Silent Lucidity") is like a captivating intersection on the exhilarating road to Nirvana. And Friday night’s stopover in the downtown Dallas Arts District featured a very excited crowd absolutely enraptured by Dennis DeYoung, founding member of the progressive rock band Styx, performing the group's megahits from the 70's and 80'’s accompanied by musicians of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
The elegant Meyerson turned cool rocker chic as guests filed into the auditorium adorned in denim, leather, lace, an ankle tat or two … even Conductor Arnie Roth was sporting a pony tail. As drumsticks ticked out 1-2-3-4 and a dozen roaming spotlights colored the stage, the first of several standing ovations occurred immediately as DeYoung bounded on stage belting out the lyrics:
Welcome to the grand illusion
Come on in and see what's happening
Pay the price, get your tickets for the show.
Vigorously energetic and extremely interactive with fans (many of whom were experiencing his live show for the first time ever), DeYoung was bedecked in a dapper set of shades and head-to-toe black (though admittedly sporting an Ed Grimley waistline under his vest). Don’t let the gray hair fool you, the 65-year-old singer / songwriter / keyboardist / producer is still as badass as ever (clearly evidenced by the emphatic shout of one audience member, "You've still got it man!!").
The DSO gave a powerful supporting performance, contributing emotion and technical strength to the skill and expertise of DeYoung'’s own six-member band comprised of backing vocalist (and wife) Suzanne DeYoung, bassist Craig Carter, keyboardist John Blasucci, classical percussionist Tom Sharpe (whose front and center stage position showcased his meticulous artistry on the drums), along with lead guitarists August Zadra and Jimmy Leahey (who constantly exuded coolness by poppin' off guitar licks like nobody'’s business and doing a just-right amount of head-banging with their flowing rocker hair). House lights flashed like strobes as the crowd was entertained by DeYoung’s whimsical Vogue/Robot hand motions and fancy footwork, Zadra's Pete-Townshend-windmill-style strumming, and a cameo of Leahey's double neck guitar … not to mention the trio's amusing Night At The Roxbury head-bobbing tease.
And as if we were all in some intense, speed-round version of Name That Tune, the audience continued to shout ecstatically throughout the evening as it seemed to take less than three notes of any given song for devoted patrons to repeatedly recognize whichever musical delight was in store next. DeYoung enthusiastically offered up hits like "Lady," " Mr. Roboto," "Don’t Let It End," "Rockin' the Paradise," "Suite Madame Blue," and more with August Zadra brilliantly performing vocals on "Blue Collar Man," "Too Much Time on My Hands," and "Fooling Yourself."
In a special tribute, DeYoung introduced Suzanne, his childhood sweetheart and wife of 42 years, who he kissed and chased across stage before touting her 'attributes' (exhibiting a bit of the sexy, babe-a-licious, Coco and Ice-T vibe that exists between them). He then encouraged the audience to sing along with him during "Babe," the #1 People's Choice Song of the Year in 1980 and still a beloved, hand-holding, head-swaying favorite even now.
DeYoung’s promise that "I don’t care what’s going on in your life; if you come see me, you’re going to have a good time" was thoroughly fulfilled and greatly appreciated as we enjoyed all our favorite Styx tunes sounding just the way we remember them especially during an encore including "Renegade" and a very robust, everyone-on-their-feet rendition of "Come Sail Away."
For more information about Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx including tour dates and cities, visit the band online at http://www.dennisdeyoung.com