Foreigner. If you don’t know this band by the simple mention of their name you probably have never turned on a radio. The band that has been around for over 40 years is legendary in the accomplishments over their career. They have 10 albums that were certified Platinum, 16 Top 30 hits, with 9 of those reaching the Top 10, and album sales reaching over 75 million. On the streaming side, their YouTube channel has over 400 million views, they get about 2 million streams per week on Spotify, and both “Juke Box Hero” and “I Want To Know What Love Is” were both certified Platinum on digital downloads. So when I learned they were kicking off a tour in St. Augustine, FL, I knew I wanted to be there.
But, this was a special tour for the next few weeks. Foreigner would be performing a number of their greatest hits with The Dave Eggar Orchestra. Dave Eggar is a trained cellist from the Julliard School before he went on to conduct and compose arrangements. Dave has worked with numerous artists including touring as a member of Philip Philips, as a solo cellist with Amy Lee of Evanescence, and worked with James Taylor, Josh Groban, Paul Simon and countless more. Dave is conducting the orchestra and working with his arranging partner, Chuck Palmer, on this Foreigner tour. Artists such as Metallica and the Scorpions did amazing work with orchestras, so I was excited to hear the arrangement with Foreigner.
It was a sell out crowd at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre with a crowd of all ages in attendance. It was great to see how this band connects with people of all ages and how excited the crowd was to see them that night. As the lights went down the orchestra took their places and Dave started the show. As the orchestra played, Chris Frazier (drums), Michael Bluestein (keyboards), Jeff Pilson (bass), Tom Gimbel (guitar, sax), Bruce Watson (guitar), Kelly Hansen (vocals), and Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals) come out on stage to a standing ovation from the crowd.
They opened up with “Blue Morning, Blue Day” from the 1978 album ‘Double Vision’. And right away I knew, this was going to be a phenomenal show. Dave conducted the orchestra with animation and passion while Foreigner performed beautifully on stage. A stagehand rolled out a keyboard on stage as Mick switched from guitar to the keyboard and rang out the first notes from “Cold As Ice”, which brought the crowd to their feet. The orchestra violins provided a great background to the song as Kelly sang away urging the crowd into it. And then Foreigner slowed it down with “Waiting for a Girl Like You”. And then Foreigner truly blew me away.
The band lined up on stools and Jeff, Tom, Bruce, and Mick all had acoustic guitars in hands and performed an amazing version of “Say You Will” from the 1987 album ‘Inside Information’. The acoustic sound, Kelly’s voice, and the crowd singing along simply ran chills down my arms and took my breath away. A truly phenomenal performance. They continued on with “The Flame Still Burns” and then the ever-popular “Double Vision”. Dave led the orchestra with a fast-paced intro before Chris entered on drums leading into the song. The crowd was back up on their feet and dancing and singing along.
They followed with “Feels Like The First Time” from their self-titled debut album back in 1977. Michael showed off his keyboard skills with Mick leading on guitar. Bruce was playing and dancing on stage completely into the song. I loved seeing the band this excited to be performing this song in front of the St. Augustine crowd. And the crowd sang along with every note. Mick Jones gave us a little guitar solo before Foreigner jumped into “Urgent”, which once again brought the crowd to their feet, before following with “Fool For You Anyway”.
Now the band was into the home stretch of hits giving the crowd “Hot Blooded” also from the 1978 album “Double Vision”. They then provided the crowd with an extended version of “Juke Box Hero”. The orchestra provided a thunderous entrance to the song before Kelly rang in the first words. The song went on for 10 minutes and then the band said goodnight and headed off stage. Of course, they weren’t done as Foreigner came back on stage as Kelly introduced the local Atlantic Coast High School choir to the stage. Together, they performed “I Wanna Know What Love Is” from the 1984 album “Agent Provocateur”. It was an amazing rendition of the song and the choir provided a beautiful harmony to Kelly’s vocals. When they finished, the crowd provided Foreigner and the crowd a standing ovation.
An Evening With Foreigner performing with the Dave Eggar Orchestra was a tremendous start to their tour. For any Foreigner fan this is a must-see show. If you’re not a Foreigner fan, seeing this show will absolutely make you one.