‘Touring with extra vigor’; Styx returns to Fraze on first post-pandemic concert tour


By Jim Davis

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KETTERING — Styx band members know creating music is only half of the recipe. Sure, a band can create something, but someone needs to hear it, feel it … and respond.

After a year away due to the pandemic, vocalist/keyboard player Lawrence Gowan said being able to see fans witness and respond to that labor of love again makes it all worth it.

“The lifeblood of a band has two incredibly vital aspects: The creation of new ideas… and that face-to-face interaction when you are in a room with a few thousand people and experience what music does to us and how it emotionally engages our senses and our time here on Earth in such a profound way.

“To have those things removed for a year (was difficult),” Gowan continued. “We kept hearing an outpouring of stories from people about how they were missing seeing the band live.”

Back on the road for their first tour since before the pandemic, Gowan and Styx will visit Kettering Friday evening where they’ll team with Night Ranger for the Mix 107.7 Summerfest at Fraze Pavilion.

The 64-year-old musician said playing live again — and engaging with fans — is profoundly rewarding.

“The level of emotion on peoples’ faces is heartwarming, quite honestly,” he said during a recent phone interview from Minnesota where Styx was playing the Lakefront Music Fest.

Consisting of Gowan, James Young, Tommy Shaw, Todd Sucherman, Ricky Phillips and Chuck Panozzo (for select shows), the band will celebrate its 50th anniversary early next year. And while having a half-century of music might complicate set list choices, Gowan ensured Styx’ performance will include plenty of the classics as well as material from the band’s latest album – “Crash of the Crown.”

“The main thing they can expect is that the legacy of Styx will be well represented,” he said — listing hit songs such as “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.” “Those songs are the centerpiece of every show. Adding to that is the nice fact that our new album ‘Crash of the Crown’ was No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart, so we’ll slip in one or two of those new songs that will pretty seamlessly bring people up to date. All five decades will be represented.”

After more than a year away from live audiences, Gowan said the band is ecstatic to be back out on the road.

“Our enthusiasm couldn’t be higher to put on the most energetic show we can,” he said. “Having had a year like the rest of the world where our natural lives were interrupted … we are touring this year with extra vigor.”

Simply put, Gowan said he and his bandmates — who range in age from 52 to 72 — haven’t lost any desire to get out on stage and share their passion for music.

“First of all, music is a daily challenge to try to be as good as you were yesterday, and then try to figure out how to be better,” he said. “On top of that, it’s great to have to suit up and get ready to play music. There’s something great about the power of that moment that you know you’re going to walk on stage and play music in front of people.”

For more information about Styx, visit styxworld.com. Concert info for Fraze Pavilion can be found at: fraze.com.

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