Foreigner rocks with 40th anniversary show in Pittsburgh

The summer concert season is often packed with classic acts entertaining fans of all ages, but for rock band Foreigner, this one is a little different--the band is celebrating their 40th anniversary, and they're doing it in style. Pittsburgh-area fans saw that firsthand with the band's stop last weekend in nearby Burgettstown at KeyBank Pavilion.

Every aspect of Foreigner's 40th anniversary is some sort of callback to their past, including the other bands on the bill. Opening act Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, for example, features drummer Bonham, who a few years playing drums for Foreigner's concerts. Foreigner brought him back on the road this year, just as support--but don't think of the Led Zeppelin Experience as a mere tribute act playing a greatest-hits set for the sake of nostalgia. No, Bonham's project stands as a testament to his father, Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's, musical legacy, faithful to the band's iconic sound and giving Zeppelin fans a show that's likely as close as they'll get to the real thing. They opened with "Rock and Roll" and continued with some of the band's most famous songs, including as "Ramble On," "Kashmir," and "Immigrant Song," before closing with "Whole Lotta Love."

As for Cheap Trick, a band who opened for Foreigner on their very first headlining tour, between last year's Bang, Zoom, Crazy...Hello, this year'sWe're All Alright!, and the past few summers they've spent on tour, they continue to prove they're no nostalgia act, either, with a high-energy show that made them the best band of the night. The band opened with "Hello There," something of a staple for their shows and the opening track of At Budokan, and continued with a set bound to make longtime fans happy--rather than playing a greatest-hits set, they went back to their early days for songs like "Big Eyes," "He's a Whore," and "On Top of the World," as well as a sampling from We're All Alright! with "Long Time Coming." But they didn't leave out their biggest hits completely, however, closing out their set with "The Flame," "I Want You to Want Me," the always-intense "Dream Police," and "Surrender," wrapping it all up appropriately with "Auf Wiedersehen" and "Goodnight." With Cheap Trick, there's no wondering if a band that's been active since the '70s still has it. They absolutely do, from Robin Zander's perfect vocals to the band's stage presence.

But it is Foreigner's tour, after all, and frontman Kelly Hansen has brought plenty of excitement to the band's sets since he first joined--and with a nice, white setting onstage, the band dressed things up a bit more than your typical outdoor summer concert. Still, though--and maybe in part because it's an anniversary tour--the band played the songs they're most famous for, opening with "Double Vision" and continuing on with "Head Games, "Cold as Ice," "Waiting for a Girl Like You," "Dirty White Boy," "Feels Like the First Time," "Urgent," and "Juke Box Hero," with a few lesser-known songs tossed in. No Foreigner concert is complete, however, without "I Want to Know What Love Is," which the band performed along with "Hot Blooded" as their encore.

The anniversary tour rolls on into September with a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Sept. 4, so close out the summer concert season and get your tickets right here on AXS.