Foreigner Amazes Fans at the NYS Fair’s Chevy Park

Kelly Hansen

Renowned classic rock band Foreigner made a stop Monday night to the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse as part of their current six-week summer tour. Foreigner drew the largest crowd to date at the NYS Fair’s new Chevy Park with over 21,000 fans. The concert attendees, many of who started arriving before 6:00 p.m. to grab the best seats in the house, were certainly more than entertained by the popular ’70s and ’80s rock band.

Foreigner, known for their many hits including “Cold As Ice,” “Urgent,” “Hot Blooded,” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” has been around since 1976. Their self-titled debut album hit the stores in 1977. Foreigner has gone through some line-up changes in the last several years, but there is no mistaking the music. And Foreigner brings it, night after night with enthusiasm, energy, drive, and sound that keeps eager fans wanting for more.

Those in attendance for the Chevy Park performance ranged from young to old as Foreigner keeps building their fan base with the timeless music and impressive shows they put on each night. The music and classic hits sounded better than ever led by Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen, who has been with Foreigner since 2005. The current lineup consists of Hansen on vocals, Jeff Pilson on bass, keys, vocals, Bruce Watson on guitar, Michael Bluestein on all things keys, Chris Frazier on drums, and newcomer Luis Maldonado on guitars. Mick Jones, the only original and founding member of Foreigner is still going strong. He does not necessarily play each and every show or the entire set, however, he still makes his appearance at many shows and the Foreigner fans go wild when he steps out on the stage.

Jeff Pilson

Foreigner kicked off their nearly 90-minute set with “Double Vision,” followed by “Head Games,” and right into “Cold as Ice” from their debut album, which featured ex-Dokken and Rockstar legend Jeff Pilson. These three songs back to back were more than enough to get the 20,000 plus fans on their feet and screaming. There wasn’t a bad seat at the new outdoor Chevy Park venue and the sound was amazing and clean coming through the Chevy Park sound system.

Foreigner slowed things down a bit with “Waiting For A Girl Like You” next. Hansen was ever the entertainer interacting with the crowd often, wooing the fans, especially the ladies, and hamming it up on stage introducing his bandmates. After the departure of long-time multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel in March 2021, I was curious who would take on the saxophone duties on songs like “Urgent.” This is where keyboardist Michael Bluestein came in. He came out with a pretty killer keytar sax solo on “Urgent.” There was not a slow or dull moment throughout the set, whether it was the spot-on music, the antics, or the amazing water splashing drum solo, the energy was there all night long.

Check out Bluestein’s keytar sax Solo below.

But it didn’t end there. Coming on for a four-song encore was founding original member Mick Jones who strolled onstage with his unmistakable trademark Gibson Les Paul and immediately broke into “Long, Long Way From Home,” followed by the 1977 hit “Feels Like The First Time”. The 76-year-old rocker proved he is not ready to call it quits just yet and still has something left to play.

Foreigner closed out the night with the 1984 power ballad “I Want To Know What Love Is” followed by “Hot Blooded.” They ended the night on a hot note and the fans were not disappointed in the 13-song set that incorporated some fun interaction, extended play, and instrument swapping. The guys definitely have fun putting on a show for their fans.

Bruce Watson and Jeff Pilson

Foreigner Setlist : Double Vision, Head Games, Cold As Ice, Waiting For A Girl Like You, Blue Morning, Blue Day, Dirty White Boy, Urgent, Drum/Key Solo, Juke Box Hero. ENCORE with Mick Jones: Long, Long Way From Home, Feels Like The First Time, I Want To Know What Love Is, Hot Blooded.

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