Usually, when an established musical act changes its lead singer, the results can be good, bad, and sometimes just about as frightening as that new mask basketball great LeBron James sports on the court these days.
Some of the worst offenders were The James Gang, The Guess Who, and INXS, each of whom committed commercial musical suicide when they were forced to change their frontman.
Genesis, The Doobie Brothers, Journey, Queen, and Yes have had no problems whatsoever with their changes in vocalists, and in some cases actually were more successful afterward. You can add AC/DC, Alice in Chains and Styx to that list.
Fortunately, Foreigner, which visits Augusta’s Bell Auditorium at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13, boasts a vocalist named Kelly Hansen who is a dead ringer for iconic original lead singer Lou Gramm.
The sole original member is guitarist/composer Mick Jones. He has assembled a stellar cast of musicians who replicate the signature Foreigner sound with uncanny accuracy.
FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME DEPT. Foreigner recently issued a CD/DVD combo, Feels Like the First Time, that features re-recordings of its greatest hits and album cuts. When I played it for some musician friends last week, none of them could tell the difference musically or vocally. It’s that good!
Foreigner’s self-titled debut in 1977 was a hit right out of the box. Cold as Ice; Long, Long Way From Home and, of course, Feels Like the First Time put the band in the upper echelon of rockers practically overnight.
Double Vision, Head Games, 4 and Agent Provocateur were all winners in the charts and airwaves. The hits came fast and furious over the next decade with tunes like Hot Blooded, Dirty White Boy, Urgent, Waiting for a Girl Like You and Say You Will that are played on classic rock formats to this day.
JUKE BOX HEROES DEPT. A Foreigner concert these days is like spring training batting practice: one hit after another that reminds you just how good the band was – and still is.
As an added treat, the fabulous award-winning choir at Greenbrier High School (under the direction of Karen Boyd) will provide the backing vocals on Foreigner’s No. 1 hit single I Want to Know What Love Is.
Boyd said she and the choir are “beyond excited” about performing with Foreigner.
“Some of my kids didn’t really know who the group was until they went home and were quickly ‘schooled’ by their parents about just how great the band is!” she said.
The Greenbrier choir will receive a $500 grant from the Grammy Foundation for their vocal contributions and their help selling CDs at the concert. “We will be able to put that to good use,” Boyd said.
Tickets for the show are $37, $47, $67 and $87 and are available at the James Brown Arena box office, online at georgialinatix.com and by phone at 877-4AUGTIX.