Foreigner puts the classical in classic rock

Foreigner performs at Symphony Hall in Duluth on Wednesday. (Photo by Steve Kuchera/

“So are you a Foreigner fan?” asked the photographer sitting next to me in the Symphony Hall press area.

“I grew up in the 70s,” I said. “You pretty much had to be.”

We were minutes away from the curtain on an “Evening with Foreigner and the Dave Eggar Orchestra.”

That’s right.  What’s left of Foreigner (founding member, songwriter and guitarist Mick Jones and five other guys) were about to perform with an 18-piece orchestra in Duluth. I was there to review the concert for the Duluth News Tribune.

The photographer said he graduated from high school in 1974, so he missed the Foreigner wave. He wasn’t expecting much of a show. He explained these oldies shows are kind of rough to watch.

He said he saw Barry McGuire sing his 1965 hit “Eve of Destruction” a few years back. Barry was 70 years old at the time. It didn’t go well, said the photographer.

“I graduated in 1981, so the record companies sent us Foreigner albums in the mail,” I said.

That’s almost true.

Foreigner and its hard rock music was everywhere during the Reagan administration. “Feels Like the First Time,” “Urgent,” those songs were all over the radio. I even remember TV newsman Les Nessman dancing to “Hot Blooded” on the situation comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

Then came the power ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is.” That song hit #1 all over the world in 1984. I didn’t care much for the song back then but I’ve gotten soft in my old age. Today, I tend to focus on the uplifting chorus. Sometimes we all need a little uplifting.

I’m not sure how I would have reviewed a real Foreigner concert in 1984, back at the height of their powers. I probably would’ve liked it.  I probably would’ve said “Double Vision” is a great rocker and singer Lou Gramm can shriek with the best of them.  I probably would’ve taken more than 60 minutes to write the review and it probably would not have been read all over the world.

That’s what happens nowadays. I had a deadline to meet and then Dave Eggar, the guy with the orchestra, gave the review a “retweet.”

Consider this my own retweet. Check out the pictures and read my review of the show here: “Foreigner puts the classical in classic rock.”


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