Foreigner The Best Of 4 And More
On December the 5th Frontiers release Foreigner " The Best Of 4 And More " which was recorded live last month at Borgata Hotel’s Music Box Theatre in Atlantic City on October 3rd and 4th, 2014.
All I read on forums when it was announced that this was being released was not another Foreigner live album?
Yes there have been plenty during the last decade with only a single new studio release in 2010 but with the quality of the musicianship of the latest Foreigner line up it is very unfair on the guys involved.
Anyone seeing the band on their UK dates earlier in the year know that this band in the live setting are capable of matching anyone .
The 2 shows paid homage to their most successful cd " 4 " that was released way back in 1981 and sold more than 9 million copies and at the time spent more weeks at number one on the billboard charts than any other Atlantic recording artist on a list that included AC DC , Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
Band leader and only founder member Mick Jones has successfully managed to keep the Foreigner name alive with the help of one of my all time favourite singers Kelly Hansen.
Replacing original vocalist Lou Gramm with Hansen was a masterstroke as he sings the classic material close enough to the original but with his own touch and quality and being a superb frontman takes the live show to a standard that surpasses the original .
Foreigner's Kelly Hansen - Photo Credit: © S. Schweiger
Add to that the wonderful backing vocals and bass of Jeff Pilson who again adds a rockier edge to the music and also long time cohort Tom Gimbel on backing vocals ,rhythm guitar and his world class sax playing .
On this tour they have added Michael Bluestien on keyboards,the powerhouse drumming of ex Whitesnake member Chris Frazier and on guitar Bruce Watson who plays back up to Jones but also adds some excellent lead breaks of his own.
For your money you get 7 of the 10 original songs played but for me it is straight to the lesser played live songs that I go.
Starting with " Night Life " that flies out of the box it is obvious that the band are on fire. Hansen's vocal adds to the original with a tone and melodic quality that few can match while the 3 guitar line up riff hard and the rhythm section pound away that makes you remember that this AOR band are a live rocking tour de force .
Next up " Woman In Black " keeps the tempo high with Hansen excelling with his vocal delivery.
" Urgent " is a live staple but never fails to deliver with Tom Gimbels's sax solo as always taking top spot . A sax solo at a rock show? If the hairs on the back of your neck don't stand to attention check your pulse.
First ballad " Waiting For a Girl Like You " has been heard millions of times but the band play it with such passion and intensity and Hansen again shines while Mick jones's keyboard riff is a classic.
" Break It Up " ups the tempo again with a more traditional melodic AOR number where the vocal and backing vocals take top billing .One of my favourites from the cd and great to hear again.
We then have an acoustic interlude firstly with " Girl On The Moon " that in this stripped back mode works wonderfully before a song that I adore.
Jeff Pilson reworked " Say You Will " many years ago and it really is one of my favourite reworkings ever. The huge chorus and backing vocals are stunning and shows off Hansen and his quality again .The crowd join in with Hansen for a chorus singalong on a song that keeps on giving.
The last 5 songs are again staples of a Foreigner show and all are played with hi intensity and a belief that they are the best versions that have ever been released.
" Feels Like The First Time " is a classic rock song and they follow it up with " Cold as Ice " with Hansen's vocal leading the way before " Hot Blooded " shows that Foreigner should always be seen as a hard rock band .
Mega ballad and hit " I Want To Know What Love Is " adds a local school choir to the mix and with the crowd singing back the chorus this is a mutual love in!!
Ending with a rip snorting 13 minute " Juke Box Hero " that throws the kitchen sink into a song that is a perfect finale . From Mick's opening riff to Kelly's vocal and crowd interaction to Frazier's and Pilson's pounding rhythm to Watson's ending guitar solo this is musicianship at it's finest you can hear the crowd response and wish you were there .
And that sums it up for me.
This is a show you would have loved to been at and when a live cd can bring you that thought and manage to capture that feeling I will return to my earlier question .
Yes we do need another Foreigner live cd .
A perfect capture of an event that shows Foreigner in 2014 are still top of the game .