Live: Foreigner 40th Anniversary in Noblesville

2017’s summer concert season saw numerous mega-ticket tours come through the amphitheaters and Foreigner’s 40th Anniversary Tour was one of the most-anticipated of the year.

Announced earlier in the Spring, support would come from Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and certain dates saw the band bringing in original vocalist Lou Gramm for a few songs on select dates.

The tour came through Noblesville, Ind.’s Klipsch Music Center and got started early with JBLZE playing a short, sweet set loaded with Zeppelin classics. Their frontman sounded eerily similar to Robert Plant and the crowd ate up every minute of it.

Bonham took a few moments to talk to the crowd about how proud his late father would be to hear his songs living on for as long as they have. He also talked about hanging out up the road in Fishers, Ind. numerous times over the years, which led to a huge eruption from the crowd.

Following them up were recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick. Cheap Trick are an interesting band when it comes to the live stage. Their set was loaded with Cheap Trick classics but fell short on blowing the crowd away.

While it was one of the better Cheap Trick sets and the band was full of energy- and they always are, especially with legendary guitarist Rick Nielson walking around the stage and throwing handfuls of guitar picks into the crowd all night long- they left the stage with something lacking. What that is is hard to say but they just didn’t leave the crowd breathless like you’d expect. At times the set seemed slow and the crowd seemed uninvested unless a major hit was played.

Closing the evening was Foreigner, who took the energy that was left in the venue and cranked it all the way up. This wasn’t just a concert, it was a celebration and a party.

Frontman Kelly Hansen couldn’t be a more fitting replacement for Lou Gramm. His adrenaline was pumping so heavily, it was fun to watch. Leaving the stage and running through the crowd, coming to the very edge of the front of the stage, utilizing both sides and getting as close to the crowd as possible, Hansen made sure everyone in attendance got their money’s worth.

The rest of the band knows exactly how to work the fans and get them even more involved than they were or than they thought they could, demanding nothing short of 100% from those in attendance. Closing the main portion of the set was “Juke Box Hero,” which saw Hansen elevated high above the crowd atop a giant platform, singing at the top of his lungs before the set ended.

As the lights went back down, the band took the stage again for a short encore of “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded,” the first of which saw the band joined on stage by the Greenwood High School choir, for a chilling and awe-inspiring performance before ending the night on an even higher note with “Hot Blooded.”

-Reggie Edwards