As some of you may know, Dennis DeYoung is embarking on his first proper
solo tour, which I first mentioned in my post-show
report for Dennis' Rye Playland show. The Atlantic City date was
the second night (the first was at the Turning Stone Casino the night
before in Verona, NY). There are currently a handful of small band shows
planned for Dennis for 2002 (The Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA on
3/1, Mohegan Sun Casino in CT on 5/17 & 18, and the Fraze Pavilion
in Kettering, OH on 8/23).
Unlike the Styx show I saw back in September, there were seats for
this concert. No mosh, pit, sorry ;)
The show was slated to begin at 9 PM, but started about 9:15. The stage
was pretty basic, as was the lighting, but it worked. Dennis was definitely
in good voice, and looked not only comfortable, but happy and relaxed.
He was joking with the crowd all evening with his one liners that seemed
oddly fitting given the venue. And he poked some good fun at himself
- especially around Kilroy (funny bit that involved Hank). Overall,
I'd say the band and show were more relaxed than the Rye show. "Rockin'
The Paradise" was possibly the best version I've heard live yet
- it had so much energy! (And if you want a comparison ... even more
energy than what Styx does on Styxworld with Larry. For anyone
who says Dennis still can't rock, you're wrong!) "Paradise"
was nice to hear, but it was (unfortunately) the "let's get up
and get a drink" song. The concert seemed to flow a bit better
than the Rye show. Dennis
almost forgot the words quickly in the beginning of "Come Sail
Away" - maybe due to the crowd singing, but he laughed it off when
he caught himself. Just goes to prove that even professionals are human.
During "Babe", Dennis walked over to the side of the stage
and had a spotlight put on Suzanne. "Roboto" got a really
warm reception, as it has the past two times I've seen Dennis.
Some of you might be wondering if Dennis addressed the whole lawsuit
thing ... well, I won't speak for Dennis, but I think he may have alluded
to it in his "dreams" speech before "Come Sail Away".
And no, he didn't slam the guys.
This is pretty much the same setlist from Rye, NY, in a bit of a
different order. It also had one more song apparently than the night
before in Verona ("Don't Let It End"), but I can't say for
sure as I was not there and only saw one report from that show.
1. Grand Illusion (pretty much straight into ...)
3. Desert Moon
5. Don't Let It End
6. Suite Madame Blue
8. Show Me The Way (A Capella)
9. Light Up
10. Rockin' The Paradise
11. Paradise (Dawn Marie alone; "Hunchback" version)
13. Mr. Roboto
14. The Best Of Times/AD 1958
15. Come Sail Away (encore)
I don't know exact numbers, but most of the seats were full, if not
all. For a casino crowd (and if you've been to a casino show, you know
what I'm talking about), they were not typical. The reason for this
is the comp tickets that are given out sometimes are given to people
who don't care. It seemed like they actually wanted to see the show.
The people behind me called it the best concert they had ever seen on
the way out.
The crowd sang along for a lot of the concert, and was overpowering
during "Come Sail Away". You could tell Dennis appreciated
it. Loudest I've probably heard at any Styx related concert - Styx proper
(including '96, '97, '99, '00, and '01) and previous Dennis shows.
In the beginning of the concert, you could hear comments like "nothing
like hearing the guy who made the songs" (people behind me), "JY
sucks" (yelled pretty loudly), and "you are Styx" (yelled
from somewhere in the room). right before Dennis. To be fair, I've seen
plenty of "Dennis Who?" type of signs during Styx shows, so
I pretty much expected this. I've seen both Dennis and Styx, and don't
get that whole thing, but hey, to each his own. I would encourage people
not to get into this stuff since everything is settled, and let's just
appreciate the music (standing off soapbox ...).
Dennis DeYoung - vocals
Tom Djallo - guitar, occasional backing vocals
Alison "Hank" Horton - bass, backing vocals
Rick Schneider (Snyder?) - keyboards
Kyle Woodry - drums
Dawn Marie Fusi- backing vocals
The band except the keyboard player is different from the Rye, NY, show
(and is the 3rd keyboard player since 2000 I've seen Dennis with). To
be honest, it was Rick's second show with the band (so take my comments
with a grain of salt), but I didn't think he was as good as Don from
the Rye, NY, show. I thought he was a bit sloppy in certain parts (good
example: the part in "Roboto" where DDY sings "The problem's
plain to see ..." and there are the keyboard arpeggiated sounding
things - they were sloppy. It looked like he was playing a Korg M1,
so it may have just been a function of not enough keys, but that didn't
exactly bowl me over.) Overall, he was very good and played some complex
stuff, and even managed to play some multiple parts at once that were
The night before in Verona, NY, Dennis apparently sat behind the keyboards
and took some requests, playing bits of songs (including "Castle
Walls"). He did not do that at all this evening, nor, like the
Rye show, did he even do the solo in "Come Sail Away". That
to me was the only letdown to some degree, but it's nitpicking.
I'll say it again ... I'm glad Dennis lost (or has really learned to
control) a lot of the affectation that I think colored him doing some
Styx songs in '96 and '97. He has his rock voice back, but can do all
the vibrato and show-y kind of stuff when he needs to (a la "Summertime").
Get out and see Dennis ... even though he isn't in Styx or touring with
them anymore doesn't mean you can't enjoy him in concert. And even if
you're someone who has historically "sided" with the new version
of Styx, now that Dennis and Styx have settled their lawsuit, there's
no need for animosity anymore.