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STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
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STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Tommy Shaw
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Shaw
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
James 'JY' Young
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Young
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Lawrence Gowan
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Gowan
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Todd Sucherman
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Sucherman
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Ricky Phillips
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Phillips
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Will Evankovich
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Evankovich
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Gowan
STYX at FREEMAN STAGE
Gowan
STYX
Freeman Arts Pavilion
Selbyville, Delaware
Saturday, June 3, 2023


It was a very chilly and windy night when Styx rolled into town on their Crash of the Crown Tour.  Back  when tickets went on sale, this show sold out in five minutes, and you could see it in the throngs of concertgoers heading to the entrance gates at the Freeman Arts Pavilion, my first time back here since 2021.  The all new added box office and entrance gates made for a much easier entrance than the venue’s old configuration.  As I made my way into the pit to get ready to shoot, the stage was already set up with a banner draped across the entire back of the stage with the STYX logo on it.  The drum kit was placed in the back center of the stage with a rotating keyboard to the left, and stairs at both ends of the catwalk that ran the entire length of the stage.

At 8:00 pm, the house lights went out as one by one the band members made their way to the stage:  Tommy Shaw, lead guitars and vocals; James “JY” Young, lead guitars and vocals; Lawrence Gowan, keyboards and lead and backing vocals; Ricky Phillips, bass and backing vocals; Todd Sucherman, drums; and newest member Will Evankovich, guitar and backing vocals.  The audience was already out of their seats greeting them with much applause.  The band opened with "To Those", off their latest release Crash of the Crown.  After that it was "Blue Collar Man", which at the end of the song Shaw says to the crowd, "How are you doing, Selbyville?"  The set list drew songs coming from nine of the bands seventeen albums and four coming from their latest album.  Next was "Grand Illusion", "Lady", and "Crash of the Crown".  Now Young addresses the crowd by saying, "We’re going to take you back for this one," as the band goes into "Light Up", and "Lorelei", from their Equinox album from 1975.  Now, once again, Shaw addresses the crowd, this time by saying, "My Selbyville brothers and sisters, so glad to see you!"  Next was Young's time in the spotlight as he always sings "Miss America", with amazing vocals on his part.  Now Shaw says, “Before we go any further tonight, we have a birthday that must get noticed.”  Road manager Brian came onstage and the band and crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to a rousing audience applause.  Now Gowan speaks and says, “Do you know classic rock?  This next song was written by Mr. Tommy Shaw in 1976,” as they went right into “Crystal Ball,” actually one of my favorites.

After that Gowan took a few minutes to introduce the band saying: “Shaw, the man from Alabama; Young, the Godfather of Styx and the master of the Stratocaster; Sucherman, one of the best drummers in the world and with Styx for over two decades; Phillips, formerly of bands The Babys and Bad English, also with a two-decade tenure in the band; and Will Evankovich, the newest member of the band, who has written and co-produced Styx’s last two albums, The Mission 2017 and Crash of the Crown 2021.”  Now Shaw introduces Gowan as the man with the fastest fingers and the most stylish wardrobe attire.  After the band intro, it was time for "Rockin' the Paradise," and Shaw says, “I saw a banjo on Ebay - do I need a banjo?  Hell, yeah, I need a banjo; so I bought it, wrote a song on it, played it for the band, they liked it, and we recorded it.”  That song was "Our Wonderful Lives", off their latest release and, wow, what a great song - absolutely amazing.  Next was time for Young to get a little keyboards in (he always has a little keyboard set attached to the right side of the drum riser) where he plays "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)".  Shaw now says, “If you don’t remember this one, you will have to go back to the first week of MTV,” and they launched into "Too Much Time on My Hands".  Now Gowan plays "Khedive", a little piano instrumental that leads into "Lost at Sea", a 38-second song that you have to listen to, so very cool and great.  At the end of that, Gowan plays the intro notes to "Come Sail Away", first standing on top of his keyboard and then striding along the catwalk as the song ended.   All the crowd’s cell phones are raised and recording (not that they weren't through most of the show, but I think everyone had theirs on at this point). "We Love you Selbyville! Good night!" Gowan exclaimed as the band exited the stage.

After a short intermission, with the stage glowing in red, the band returned to play "Mr. Roboto", which was brought back to their set list in 2018.  I’ve always admired that song for some reason.  To  close out the show was Shaw killing it on the a’ capella notes then the guitar riff intro on "Renegade",  a song that I couldn't imagine ending the show without.  The concert from start to finish was nothing but rocking and there were songs for everyone to enjoy.  I have seen and covered this band many times before (opening for Aerosmith in 1977 on "The Grand Illusion Tour” in the Spectrum, of course) and have to say they are a well-polished machine.  They have been doing this for more than 50 years.  They sound great, their production is great and they give 110 percent every time they take the stage.  They are just a great live band; so if you get the chance to see them, don’t let it go - you will not be sorry.  Catch them!!
For concert tour dates and more on Styx, go to www.Styxworld.com

Gary Crouthamel, Concert Photojournalist
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