Styx

Return to Paradise

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Styx was one of the all-time favorite targets of many rock critics, but the mixture of bleeding-heart ballads, catchy arena rock, and ambitious art rock appealed to millions in the late '70s and early '80s. After 13 years apart, the Chicago-based band's classic lineup of vocalist/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, vocalist/guitarist James Young, and bassist Chuck Panozzo reunited for a successful greatest-hits tour in 1996. Drummer Todd Sucherman replaced John Panozzo, who died of chronic alcohol abuse that year. The highly enjoyable, 17-song concert Return to Paradise was recorded (and filmed) on the final date of the 1996 tour -- on the autumnal equinox -- in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Rosemont Horizon. The quintet seems to be having a blast. The tour's theme and stage setup was based on 1981's Paradise Theater (number one). As such, the boisterous "Rockin' the Paradise" is an appropriate opener. "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)" maintains the full-tilt pace. A frantic jam ends "Too Much Time on My Hands." Before Young starts the dramatic "Snowblind," he reminds the fans that it was accused of containing satanic backward messages, lists the devil's many aliases, and says, "None of those bad guys had a damn thing to do with this next song." DeYoung dedicates "Show Me the Way" to John Panozzo; a photo of the late drummer is projected on the stage backdrop and the fans ignite a sea of lighters and candles. A blistering version of "Come Sail Away" ends the regular set; the encores are "Renegade" and "The Best of Times." (Although "Mr. Roboto" was regarded as a cheesy sci-fi embarrassment by many, its omission is disappointing.) [A 1999 DVD includes many extras such as behind-the-scenes footage shot by Sucherman, an interview with Shaw, a photo gallery, and more.]

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