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Foreigner, Symphony Hall, Birmingham - review

By Kirsten Rawlins | Music | Published:

Jukebox Heroes Foreigner blew fans away with an absolutely phenomenal show at the Symphony Hall last night.

Foreigner

The English-American icons exuded energy, passion and excellence from start to end during their set filled with sing-a-long anthems and rock favourites.

I had high expectations for Foreigner - and have been spoiled by many a great concert, but the band were beyond anything I could have imagined; stopping me in my tracks from the get-go, and leaving me astounded for the gig's entirety.

Lead singer Kelly Hansen was the brightest shining star of the show with an unbelievable liveliness and enthusiasm which spread like wildfire through the crowd. He may be 57, but Kelly moved like a 20-something rock star as he bounded across the stage; even jumping down into the audience and racing across the tops of chairs at one point to enthuse the fans.

Kicking off the show with 1978 number Double Vision, guitarist Bruce Watson instantly impressed with gritty, powerful riffs and drummer Chris Frazier with thunderous beats, as Kelly stood centre-front, belting out the lyrics with incredible strength and range.

"Hello Birmingham," beamed Kelly.

"Have we got some f***ing rock 'n' rollers in the house tonight? Are you ready for this?

"Then let's get this party started."

A jaw-dropping rendition of Cold As Ice then followed, before the group gave performance after sublime performance of top numbers such as Waiting For A Girl Like You, That Was Yesterday, and Dirty White Boy; which even saw Kelly lean down into the crowd, cheekily getting a woman to stroke his leg during the song (who more than happily obliged).

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Not only was Kelly a tremendous singer, who belted out the notes to each and every number with absolute ease and unbelievable talent, but he also oozed charisma and a brilliantly bonkers stage presence which captivated the audience from start to end. He may be the band's third frontman, but his performance last night proved he was born for the role.

Another highlight of the show was seeing legendary founding member Mick Jones perform on guitar and keyboard, impressing with great expertise and talent on the guitar in particular.

Multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel, meanwhile, was astonishing, giving excellent performances on sax, guitar and keys.

Foreigner's debut single Feels Like The First Time and Jukebox Hero followed, before the group briefly left the stage and returned for a magnificent encore.

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The crowd was then treated to Long, Long Way From Home - from the band's debut album - before being once again blown away by a stupendous rendition of 1984 megahit I Want To Know What Love Is, which saw the members joined by a kids choir and Kelly drop jaws with his breathtaking vocals.

"Thank you so much for letting us play at your beautiful house tonight," gushed the singer.

"It's hard to believe we're still here after 40 years, thank you so much."

And with that, they ended what could only be described as a night of absolute, thrilling perfection with 1978 rock staple Hot Blooded.

An incredible show, which words simply cannot do justice.

I only hope I get to see them again very soon.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Online Entertainment Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. E-mail me kirsten.rawlins@expressandstar.co.uk, or phone 01902 319368

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