Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
As a big fan of the PBS Soundstage series, I was a bit curious as to how, Foreigner, one of the most successful arena rock bands of the 1970's and '80's would adjust to the smaller, more intimate setting. After having recently seen the band perform live in an open air outdoor concert, I was expecting the music to lose some its intensity in a more structure setting. Much to my surprise, there was very little noticeable difference in the two performances.
Filmed in Chicago in 2008, the Foreigner: Live DVD, features a knockout performance of 17 of the band's greatest hits. Although the current band has only retained one of the original members, band founder, guitarist Mick Jones, the reformed version with Kelly Hansen on vocals, Jeff Pilson on bass, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, former Led Zeppelin drummer Jason Bonham, and saxophonist/rhythm guitarist and flutist Tom Gimbel, sounds incredibly similar to the original group.
The concert kicks off with Night Life, a high octane rock number featuring some blistering guitar licks by Mick Jones, and a searing performance by lead vocalist Kelly Hansen. Next the band launches into a couple of rousing bookend rockers, Head Games and a keyboard and percussion driven showcase of their signature number, Cold As Ice, before slowing things down with one of their most memorable ballads, Waiting For A Girl Like You. Additional highlight from the first half of the show include a thrilling keyboard and guitar driven acoustic version of their 1987 hit Say You Will featuring some nice vocal harmonies, and a show- stopping rendition of the classic rocker Double Vision.
While I found the second half of the concert to be a bit weaker overall, highlights include a stellar performance of the semi-acoustic ballad Starrider featuring vocals and a blistering electric guitar solo by Mick Jones and Tom Gimbel on flute. It is the closest to a jam performance in the concert. The band displays its first rate showmanship, in a back to back performance of two of their biggest hits, Urgent and Juke Box Hero featuring Tom Gimbel's sultry saxophone accents in the first number and a blazing solo drum and percussion intro leading into a sensational, dramatic, performance on the second. It is clearly the most crowd pleasing, improvisational number of the concert. The concert closes out with another of band's most recognizable soft rock ballads, I Want To Know What Love Is, and a full-throttle performance of one of their biggest hits, Hot Blooded.
While basically a studio performance, this show features above average production values including a dazzling video and light show, excellent sound quality, and nice camera work, with a good balance of close-ups and wide angle stage shots. Lead vocalist and frontman Kelly Hansen develops a nice rapport with the audience while keeping between song chatter to a minimum. The Blu-Ray version is worth a few extra dollars, with DTS Master HD Audio 5.1 and immaculate 1080p visuals.
After all these years and some major personnel changes, much to its credit, Foreigner has not lost its edge as one of the premier arena rock bands of the past four decades. Despite the limitations of the Soundstage setting, which does not lend itself to a lot of of spontaneity and improvisation, the band delivers a near flawless performance of some of their biggest hits. While it may not quite capture the excitement of a full-scale arena rock show, the Soundstage presentation Foreigner: Live offers a stunning showcase of the successful reformation of a legendary British rock band.
Complete List of Tracks:
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Say You Will
Long, Long, Way From Home
Blue Morning, Blue Day
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like The First Time
Juke Box Hero
I Want To Know What Love Is
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older