The triple rock combo of Styx, Joan Jett and Tesla brought over a century of experience with them when they pulled into Raleigh, North Carolina on June 14, 2018 for a show at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. Do you think they need a bigger name for this venue? The crowd slowly made their way into the amphitheater on this hot and humid evening which saw Tesla kicking off the show with the blistering sun shining right on them.
Speaking of blistering, these guys were smoking hot and the really set the bar high for everyone else who had to follow. While others from that era have lost a bit of their vocal range, lead vocalist Jeff Keith sounded just as amazing as when we saw the guys back in the 80s. The band opened with “I Wanna Live” and when Keith sang “and other things I expect, I take them all and have no regrets. Life’s too short, there’s no rain. Just one shot at it is all you get,” his words really seemed to resonate with those in attendance. The guys kept the between song banter short as they only had about 50 to 55 minutes to make their musical statement. “Signs” and “Little Suzi” got great reactions as well as their closer “Modern Day Cowboy.” It’s a shame that more people had not made their way onto the venue for Tesla’s set because it was smoking hot and that is not a reference to the actual temperature that night. Frank Hannon is an absolute beast on the axe and in my opinion is highly underrated. I know they were the openers, but I really wish we could have heard more from the guys. Oh well, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that they return to Raleigh, North Carolina on another headlining run like in 2017.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joan Jett was up next and the reason you don’t see any pictures from her performance in our coverage is because she did not approve any photographers to shoot her. It is what it is and it has been that way for a few years now, so let’s move on. Joan looked and sounded great and delivered a tight set full of hits and fan favorites. There were a few more songs added since her 2016 visit to Raleigh, North Carolina, but both shows were somewhat similar. She delivered the expected punches like “Bad Reputation,” “Cherry Bomb” and “I Love Rock and Roll” as well as some newer tracks off of her latest studio album 2013’s Unvarnished. The song that got the biggest pop from the ground and singalong was “I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You.”
Styx had not made a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina since their show way back in 2007, although they did appear last year in nearby Cary, North Carolina. I’m not sure what took them so long to come back, but the crowd had really filled in the venue and lawn seats by the time they took the stage. Styx stuck with a set filled mostly with the hits and staples that they have been performing for a while now, but they did mix it up a little. They included four tracks from their newest studio album The Mission (which I have to add is a really great album) as well as favorites such as “Lady,” “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Renegade.” A huge karaoke session broke out when Lawrence Gowan, the band’s “new” singer (pun intended…….see my interview with Gowan) went into “Come Sail Away.” To warm the crowd up for it, he performed a solo mini-rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” By now, you have already heard that the band has added “Mr. Roboto” back to the setlist in its entirety for the first time in 35 years. It’s a little different version that what was performed on the Kilroy Was Here tour back in 1983. Former vocalist Dennis DeYoung performed it by himself live on the tour to a backing track. For this tour, the whole band is on-stage and it has a bit of a rock edge to it with guitars added. A couple of other things about the show to point out is that Tommy Shaw had laryngitis the night before this show when the band performed in Charlotte, NC and was still feeling the effects of it. He was squeaky at first, but he actually sounded pretty good towards the end of the show. It was also great to see bassist and founding member Chuck Panozzo join the band for three songs this time round.
Overall, it was a rocking night full of lots of hits that brought back lots of great memories to many of us in attendance. These songs are a part of the soundtrack to many of our lives, so it was quite emotional at times. Rock band and artists like this are in short supply these days, so it’s great to see them out there still doing what they love and setting a standard for a younger breed of rockers to follow. Tesla has been at it for over thirty years while Styx and Joan Jett have been at it for over forty years. It may be a while before we see some newer bands come along with that kind of staying power.
Below are the setlists for each band’s performance in Raleigh, NC. Joan Jett’s setlist was unavailable, so we included her setlist from her show the night before in Charlotte, NC which was identical to what she played in Raleigh, NC.
Check out our shots from Styx’s show at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC on June 14, 2018. Click on each picture for a larger view!
Check out our shots from Tesla’s show at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, NC on June 14, 2018. Click on each picture for a larger view!