Foreigner: Live On Stage (1985)

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Live On Stage contains rarely seen live performances, recorded 1985 at Super Rock Festival. Featuring all hits and classics: "I Want to Know What Love is", "Hot Blooded","Waiting for a Girl Like You" and more. Superb archive footage! --Amazon
Review by Bill Wolford
Added: January 16, 2012
Something that's kind of hard to find if you're looking for it is live DVD footage of Foreigner. Their best years were in the late seventies and early eighties, and there just doesn't seem to be much existing footage. So the earliest DVD concert I know of is this one from Japan in 1985. Let's take a look at Wikipedia to get us up to date from the bands inception to this live concert.

Since its inception, Foreigner has been led by English journeyman rocker Mick Jones (former member of Nero and the Gladiators, Spooky Tooth and The Leslie West Band) who, in early 1976, met with ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald and formed Foreigner with Lou Gramm (ex-Black Sheep), Dennis Elliott, Al Greenwood, and Ed Gagliardi as a sextet. Jones came up with the name from the fact that he, McDonald, and Elliott were English, while Gramm, Greenwood, and Gagliardi were Americans.[3]

The band's debut album Foreigner was released in March 1977 and sold more than four million copies in the United States, staying in the Top 20 for a year with such hits as "Feels Like the First Time," "Cold as Ice" and "Long, Long Way from Home".

Their second album, Double Vision (released in June 1978), topped their previous, selling five million records and spawned "Hot Blooded," the title track "Double Vision" and "Blue Morning Blue Day."

Their third album, Head Games (August 1979), which was referred to by Gramm as their "grainiest" album, was also successful because of the thunderous "Dirty White Boy" and another title track hit "Head Games." For Head Games, bassist Ed Gagliardi was replaced by Englishman Rick Wills.

In September 1980 keyboardist Al Greenwood and co-founder Ian McDonald were sacked as Jones wished to have more control over the band and write most of the music (along with Gramm). The band was now stripped down to a quartet, with session players brought in as needed to record or tour (see below for complete list of members). Greenwood soon joined Gagliardi to form the AOR band Spys, with John Blanco, Billy Milne, and John DiGaudio. The band released two albums, a self-titled debut, and the follow-up Behind Enemy Lines.

In the meantime, Foreigner's next album, 4 (released in July 1981), contained "Urgent" (which includes a Junior Walker sax solo), "Waiting for a Girl Like You," "Juke Box Hero" and "Break it Up." Before releasing albums of his own, Thomas Dolby played synthesizers on 4 (he contributed the signature synth sound on "Urgent" and played the intro to "Waiting For A Girl Like You").[4] For their 1981-82 tour in support of 4, the group added Peter Reilich (keyboards, synthesizers, who'd played with Gary Wright), former Peter Frampton band member Bob Mayo (keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals) and Mark Rivera (sax, flute, keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals). Mayo and Rivera had also appeared on the sessions for 4. Reilich was dropped in May 1982 but Mayo and Rivera continued with the band through 1988.

Their next album, Agent Provocateur, was released successfully in December 1984, and gave them their first and only No. 1 hit in 1985 (in U.S., UK, Australia, Norway, Sweden, etc.), "I Want to Know What Love Is," written by Mick Jones, a gospel-inspired ballad backed by the New Jersey Mass Choir.[5][6][7] The song was their biggest US hit. "That Was Yesterday" was the next single from the album in early 1985 and proved to be another sizable hit.

So there we have it, up to date for this concert. Before I begin with this DVD, I'd like to start off by saying that in my opinion the band peaked with the album "4", and I wish there were a DVD of that world tour. But in this case, with its rarity, I'll take what I can get, and what we get here is a mixed bag. First off, the DVD is in full screen with no extras to speak of. There is a title at the bottom of the screen naming every song at the beginning of it. This is television broadcast quality and looks as it may have been sourced from a VHS tape at some point. The stereo sound is very nice and full, which is a big plus. I'm probably the only person in the world who doesn't like their only #1 hit, "I Want To Know What Love Is", but it is included here for all the fans of it, including a local choir for the choruses of the song.

As far as I can tell there are no musical or vocal overdubs on the DVD. There are several keyboard mistakes, a few vocal flubs, and the background vocals are quite rough. There are also a few feedback issues, but not enough to be annoying. Foreigner are only a fair sounding live band, as their records have a much tougher and tighter sound.

The track list for the DVD is::

1.Long, Long Way From Home
2.Head Games
3.Waiting For A Girl Like You
5.That Was Yesterday
6.I Want To Know What Love Is
7.Reaction To Action
9.Dirty White Boy
10.Hot Blooded
11.Juke Box Hero

One annoying aspect of the DVD is that there are no end credits to speak of. After the last note of Juke Box Hero, the DVD returns to the main menu and that's it. So, I'll let you know that of the DVDs of Foreigner out there, this is one of the only ones to have most of the original members. This is a decent collection of songs from a good seventies band. This footage may be a tad past their prime, but it's worth a purchase for its rarity alone.

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