Styx, Cheap Trick bring new music and classics to Ohio
YouTube via StyxVEVO

Both Styx and Cheap Trick made triumphant returns to Columbus, Ohio's Celeste Center as a part of this year's Ohio State Fair concert lineup. As the fair has always done, they packaged a fantastic night of entertainment for the excited crowd that packed the venue. Listed as able to hold a crowd size of 10,000 patrons, the Celeste Center had to have been almost filled to capacity. While they are able to bring in top-notch entertainment each and every year for the fair's concert series, it isn't every year that the crowd is as large as it was last night. Both bands were tasked with having to bring their best if they were going to satisfy the raucous crowd, and bring it they did.

Cheap Trick kicked off the night with a jam-packed set. The eighteen-song setlist spanned throughout the Rockford, Illinois group's illustrious career. The newer tunes, including the brand new "The Summer Looks Good on You" were all very well received and sounded like vintage Cheap Trick. Ultimately, though, there was a four-strong stretch towards the end of their set that brought the crowd out of their seats screaming. Their four biggest hits all in a row were the perfect way to challenge the evenings' headlining act. Having the catalog that Cheap Trick does, puts anyone playing after them in a tough spot. If their job for the night was to warm up the crowd for the main event, they did that and more. 

Cheap Trick Set List

  1. Hello There

  2. Come On, Come On

  3. You Got It Going On

  4. Lookout

  5. California Man (The Move cover)

  6. If You Want My Love

  7. Borderline

  8. High Roller

  9. Ain't That A Shame (Fats Domino cover)

  10. In The Street (Big Star cover)

  11. The House Is Rockin' (With Domestic Problems)

  12. The Summer Looks Good On You

  13. I'm Waiting For The Man (The Velvet Underground cover)

  14. The Flame

  15. I Want You To Want Me

  16. Dream Police

  17. Surrender

  18. Goodnight Now

After a short 20 minute recess in between bands, Styx took the stage at 8:41 p.m. They kicked off their set with the lead single off of their latest album The Mission. While the album was released a year ago, many of the fans were hearing it for the first time. With the way they reacted, it's safe to say that there shouldn't be another 14-year gap in between new records; and with as good as the band still sounds there's no reason for that delay. The Mission is a classic concept album that tells a story of man's first mission to Mars. Throughout the evening they would play a trio of songs from The Mission and each of them felt like classic Styx and fit perfectly into the set. "Gone Gone Gone" is the lead single and kicked off the show before making way to the classic era hits "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" and "The Grand Illusion." Ultimately "Radio Silence" and the instrumental "Khedive" would later represent the new record as well. "Khedive" was a highlight, as it was an instrumental piano piece that showed the fantastic capabilities of Lawrence Gowan. It isn't often that rock bands can make time for keyboard solos. It's probably rarer that those lead to standing ovations. After playing that piece, however, Gowan deserved the ovation that he received. 

Outside of the new stuff, the band made time for plenty of fan favorites like "Too Much Time On My Hands" and "Rockin' The Paradise" and many more. As always each of those songs brought the crowd to a fever pitch. Styx has always been recognizable by their usage of keyboards and by their guitarists James JY Young and Tommy Shaw. Shaw and Gowan's voices are still spot on and the band sounds better than ever. Modern-day Styx, especially live though, is so good because of their underrated rhythm section. Gowan made sure to point that out to the crowd as well. Ricky Phillips is heavy on the bass, and for a few songs per night is joined by original bassist Chuck Panozzo. It's drummer Todd Sucherman's playing that really adds some meat to these arena rock staples. Well placed fills and bass kick magic bring a bigger sound to this timeless band. 

As Cheap Trick did, Styx also saved their best for last. Late in the show, Gowan led the crowd through a partial cover of Queen's iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody" before making way to their magnum opus "Come Sail Away." After a brief break, the band returned to the stage to encore with the seldom played live "Mr. Roboto" which was a nice surprise and closing out with the classic rock radio staple "Renegade." 

Styx Set List

  1. Gone Gone Gone

  2. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)

  3. The Grand Illusion

  4. Lady

  5. Rockin' The Paradise

  6. Radio Silence

  7. Miss America

  8. Crystal Ball (Intro Only)

  9. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) *with Chuck Panozzo on bass

  10. Too Much Time On My Hands

  11. Khedive 

  12. Bohemian Rhapsody

  13. Come Sail Away *with Chuck Panozzo on bass

  14. Mr. Roboto

  15. Renegade *with Chuck Panozzo on bass