Dennis DeYoung – “…And The Music Of Styx Live in Los Angeles” 2CD / DVD (Frontiers Music)
Styx were an AOR icon back in the late 70s and early 80s, made famous by triple platinum albums like “The Grand Illusion” and top ten hits like ‘Too Much Time On My Hands’, ‘Babe’ and ‘Come Sail Away’ – the latter brought distastefully back to life in South Park two decades later! Despite their incredible success there was always a friction between vocalist Dennis DeYoung, who favored a more theatrical approach, and the two guitarists James Young and Tommy Shaw. Frustration in particular between Shaw and DeYoung would ultimately lead to a fragmentation of the band in 1983, whereupon the aforementioned members pursued solo careers, Shaw most notably later in Damned Yankees with Ted Nugent. Despite the onslaught of grunge, there were short lived reunions in various forms throughout the 90s, but the continual clash of styles between DeYoung’s cabaret vision and the two guitarists hard rock quest soon put any attempts at a stable line up permanently to bed. Today, Styx carries on, albeit without DeYoung even to the point of having his name removed from the band history, while DeYoung himself has built a new band including his wife Suzanne on backing vocals to continue the spirit of one of AOR’s greatest acts. Filmed earlier this year in Los Angeles at the intimate El Rey Theater, the sold out show in all its passion is beautifully captured by 8 cameras although the huge crowd singalongs are what do real justice to the legendary front man of Styx, being the author of five key songs that defined the band’s career. At 67 years old, he still looks to be in great physical shape and moreover his voice is incredible, both holding pitch and power like it did in the 80s, irresistibly leading the eager audience into a high school reunion fervour on songs like ‘Rocking The Paradise’, ‘Best Of Times’ and the rocking ‘Renegade’, all invigorated by the new talent of his band. Despite on / off rumors of a Styx reunion, DeYoung is not waiting around in giving the fans what they want the most beyond ego clashes – the music of their cherished band that has stayed true in their hearts all these years. Thanks to DeYoung it is once again alive and superbly captured on this 17 track double CD package, and in no small part due to his Broadway vision.