STYX Swoons Montreal!

May 29, 2024, a month ago

Photos: Thomas Mazerolles | Words: Albert Lamoureux

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Everyone one had circled this date on their calendar as Styx was finally back at the Place Bell in Laval. It was not a surprise that the first of four concerts in ‘La belle province’ was sold out. For the occasion, Juno winner David Myles was selected as the opening act.

There are not a lot of people when David Myles gets on stage along with his keyboard player and guitar player. The New Brunswick native immediately charms the fans with his French interactions. Even if many fans are still getting to their seats, he slowly but surely gets more of their attention with each song. His folk-jazz music is very catchy and he got the crowd clapping along during the song “Devil Talking”. Leith Fleming-Smith is excellent on keyboards and even has his moment in the spotlight with a lovely solo. David charmed his way in the heard of many fans with his interactions and even joked that playing in front of 8,000 fans was just like every other show, but you could see he was savouring every second of his time on stage. The fans gave him a great feeling during his last song (“When It Comes My Turn”) when they clapped their hands once again. This did not only surprise David, but someone else in the building that accidentally turned on the house lights in the middle of the song.

The Place Bell was now fully packed when Styx started their show with “The Grand Illusion”. The crowd when ballistic and you could feel that this was going to be another special night. The band quickly followed with “Too Much Time On My Hands” and the fans sang the chorus and clapped their hands immediately. Tommy Shaw even pointed to Lawrence Gowan during the line ‘is it any wonder I’m not a criminal’. I thought that was a lovely subtle tongue-in-cheek action between the two of them.

Recently appointed as the band’s new bass player, Terry Gowan (brother of Lawrence) feels right at home on stage and you can see he already has great chemistry with the other musicians. Original bass player Chuck Panozzo came on stage for the first time during “Lady” and he got a very touching reception from the crowd. The hits are in succession as fans are overwhelmed with “Lorelei” and “Miss America” before the band play the title track from their most recent album (Crash Of The Crown). You can see that the musicians are savouring their time on stage. James Young tells the crowd that they might have heard the next song once or twice in the past and asked them to sing along if they knew the words. The lights were dimmed and he started playing the guitar melody of “Suite Madame Blue”. You can feel the shivers going down your neck as people turned their phones on. Lawrence quickly added after that song that the crowd was the best and that it was always a pleasure to play here. The band took the time to wish a happy birthday to Mark Petrocelli, Todd Sucherman’s drum technician in between songs and even got the crowd to sing along.

As usual, Lawrence interacts with the crowd in French and has fun with the other musicians that don’t fully understand what he is talking about.  The crowd will once again be very loud as soon as he starts playing the keyboard introduction of the timeless ‘Criminal Mind’. It is very easy to get hypnotized by Lawrence as he so dynamic on stage and forget the excellent guitar work of James Young or Tommy Shaw.

With so many hits in their career, their set list is basically a succession of singles that get the crowd on their feet singing along and clapping their hands from the first song to the last. There is a little breather as Lawrence showcases his talent on the keyboards with the song “Khedive” before having a short duo with Chuck Panozzo on the song “Lost At Sea”. They ended their set with ‘Come Sail Away’ and almost everyone had their phones out to record the song. There were almost more lights on the floor than the ones on stage. The traditional Olé, Olé, Olé started as soon as the band left the stage and that brought them back pretty quickly to play ‘Mr. Roboto’ and “Renegade”. For the occasion, Lawrence wore a Montreal PWLH jersey instead of a traditional Habs jersey. I thought this was a very thoughtful gesture to celebrate this new hockey team. 

The love story between the crowd and the band continues and everyone left the Place Bell with a huge smile once again.

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