Classic rockers Foreigner will be tearing up the Centrium stage Oct. 13th as part of the band’s 40th anniversary tour.
The band is certainly on a high and is traveling far and wide to connect with their loyal fan base. Lead singer Kelly Hansen joined the band in 2005 and a brand new, exciting path was forged.
Coming up with the best set list when you have so much to choose from is no easy feat.
“It’s a little bit difficult because the catalogue is so well known and there are so many great songs – it’s not like we play a set and there are the two songs at the end that people don’t really know,” he said with a laugh during a recent chat. “Our problem is trying to decide what to leave out.
“That’s the challenge, but it’s a good problem to have. You can count on the fact that the show is just packed full of songs that you know,” he said. “We’ve had just an unbelievable summer tour – great attendance, great audiences. Just real barn-burners – the people have been great and just so enthusiastic. I think they really understand that this is a really significant landmark.”
Responsible for some of rock’s most enduring anthems including Cold As Ice, Hot Blooded, Waiting For A Girl Like You, Feels Like The First Time, Say You Will and the world-wide number one hit, I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner continues to rock the charts more than 40 years into the game with massive airplay and continued Billboard Top 200 album success.
As mentioned, Hansen signed on with the guys in 2005 at what proved a kind of turning point for the band.
“Foreigner had been kind of dormant since about 2002, and without my knowledge of that information, I was going through my own kind of thing where I wasn’t really happy with where I was on my career.
“Previously, things would just fall in my lap – I didn’t have to pursue anything. But I think as you grow and change, you have to start altering the way you do things.
“So I felt like I had to be proactive in pursuing what I do best – which was singing. At the time, I wasn’t doing a lot of that – I was doing a lot of production and artist development and things like that. But I wanted to get back to what I did best.”
He noticed an article about a charity show that Mick Jones was doing in Santa Barbara with some of the guys, and it sounded to him like it was alluding to a new Mick Jones project. “It sounded interesting to me right off the bat.”
Over the course of the next while, Hansen learned they were starting to turn the machinery of the wheels of Foreigner once again. “They were coming to Los Angeles, and I said can I come and jam with you guys?
“I did for about an hour and a half – and we had a great session. I remember I left at 6 p.m. and I didn’t know this then, but they had a round table and they were calling mutual friends and musicians asking about me.”
They called Hansen at 7 p.m. that night and said they were booking shows and could he start rehearsing the next day.
“I had four or five days to learn the show,” he laughed. “It was insane – I had lyric sheets everywhere!”
Jones had also brought in bassist Jeff Pilson, multi-instrumentalist Tom Gimbel, guitarist Bruce Watson, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, and Chris Frazier on drums.
Foreigner went on to hit the Billboard charts again with the 2005 release of their live greatest hits album, Extended Versions. Can’t Slow Down followed in 2009 and entered the Billboard chart in the Top 30, driven by two Top 20 radio singles, In Pieces and When It Comes To Love.
“I had to have a conversation with myself and understand that there was always going to be the presence of Lou being original singer – I knew that that was going to be part of the experience,” he explained.
“But also, I knew it wasn’t about me coming in and changing up songs so that everyone could tell that it was me singing them. These are really well-known songs, and I wanted to sing them onstage live the way that I had learned to love the songs as well. They are great songs with great melodies. It’s not up to me to change them all up.
“I just thought that I’m here to serve the song, and I really think that’s what a singer needs to keep in mind.
“I think the quality of the songs in the catalogue is really high, and along with that there has been great production and great performances and great arrangements of the parts and the instrumentation that has led to these songs having this longevity,” said Hansen. “That’s a key thing – there’s a lot of popular music out there right now that you know now, but in six months you won’t know it.
“I think that’s the difference.”
For ticket information, visit the Tickets Alberta web site.