For­eigner live 2008

Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

The Rolling Stones of 1969 were in their prime, their sound de­liv­ered by prim­i­tive tech­nol­ogy. For­eigner of 2008 ought to have been past their prime, their power rock de­liv­ered with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

In fact, ir­re­spec­tive of white hair and wrin­kles, For­eigner in 2008 was an im­pres­sive out­fit. In part that was due to the de­par­ture of found­ing vo­cal­ist, Lou Gramm, five years ear­lier due to a ‘fail­ing voice’ (says Wikipedia). He was re­placed by Kelly Hansen who, at a rel­a­tively youth­ful 47 sounds in faster songs iden­ti­cal to Gramm, back when I was en­joy­ing hits from ‘For­eigner’ and, later, ‘For­eigner 4’. It’s only in slower num­bers such as Wait­ing for a Girl like You where he de­vel­ops more of his own char­ac­ter. Even so it holds closely enough to avoid jar­ring, and the de­liv­ery is styled to match the orig­i­nal.

It’s vo­cal­ists who age out first. The other mu­si­cians are also of vary­ing ages, for there is only one re­main­ing from the band’s hit days in the 1970s and 1980s: key­boardist/guitarist Mick Jones.

As usual with th­ese kinds of things, there’s a bit too much fo­cus on the lead singer and guitarist, and a lit­tle less than I’d pre­fer on the main key­boardist and drum­mer. It’s worth watch­ing the drum­mer here in his brief mo­ments as cen­tre of at­ten­tion. The rea­son: it’s Ja­son Bon­ham, who worked with the band from 2004 to 2008.

Golly, the man was his fa­ther’s son. It took a mo­ment for me to see it be­cause of the dark sun­glasses, but look at the way he moves his hands and his body—and the way he holds his mouth—and you can see John clearly.

Even more so, the more you pay at­ten­tion to what he’s do­ing. Like his fa­ther, most of his drum­ming seems to be solid, but un­demon­stra­tive. Then you start to no­tice in songs such as Cold as Ice the amount of sub­tle dec­o­ra­tion he is in­sert­ing in the pound­ing 4/4 beat, in par­tic­u­lar the tiny drum rolls that he squeezes into spa­ces where they would scarcely seem to fit. But they do, and lift the whole piece.

At the end of that song, I felt Bon­ham had been cheated when Jones thanked the key­boardist.

The con­cert was filmed at the Sound Stage venue in Chicago. It’s a modestly-sized closed space with, I’d guess not many more than a cou­ple of hun­dred in the au­di­ence, there to give the event a live feel rather than to make any real money for the band.

Tech­ni­cally, this pre­sen­ta­tion is just about per­fect. The band is as tight as a band can be. The live record­ing, es­pe­cially in a space which seems to have been de­signed for it, is damned near close to a stu­dio record­ing in qual­ity. Stephen Daw­son


Run­ning time: 105 min­utes Picture: 1.78:1, 1080i60, MPEG4 AVC @ 21.33Mbps Sound: English: DTS-HD Mas­ter Au­dio 24/48 3/2.1 @ 4828kbps (core: DTS 24/48 3/2.1 @ 1509kbps); English: LPCM 24/48 2/0.0 @ 2304kbps Sub­ti­tles: Nil Ex­tras: Nil Re­stric­tions: Ex­empt, Re­gion Free

Di­rec­tor: Joe Thomas Star­ring: Mick Jones, Kelly Hansen, Tom Gim­bel, Jeff Pil­son, Michael Bluestein, Ja­son Bon­ham Movie: A| Picture: A| Sound: A| Ex­tras: D

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