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Foreigner - 'Rockin' At The Ryman' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/73/ad/bf/1254_foreignerrockinatryman_1305569510.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 16, 2011    
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It's just sheer quality from start to finish. Get it bought.

It would be so, so easy to just review this with the word 'Wow'. Foreigner are a great band with a great collection of songs, I think we all agree. In Kelly Hansen they have found a fantastic replacement for Lou Gramm, who not only can sing these great songs but adds a new dimension as a frontman which wasn't the great Lou's forté. In Mick Jones they have the original member who had a significant hand in all of these songs and has a desire to keep playing them. And in this DVD they have one of the best live discs I can remember for a long time.

'Rockin' At The Ryman' was recorded at the Nashville Ryman Auditorium on tour promoting the current Foreigner album, and the first with Kelly on vocals, 'Can't Slow Down'. The show finds the band in absolutely top form and Kelly in particular has never sounded better delivering the classics. There's no Jason Bonham on drums, his place was taken by the mighty Brian Tichy, who you will find now occupying the drum stool in Whitesnake.

The gig itself - well, inevitably you'd be able to make a fairly good guess at the setlist due to the sheer amount of hits Foreigner have, but they do find room for some of the new ones. The first single from the new record 'When It Comes To Love' is delivered perfectly, but better still is the magnificent vocal performance from Kelly on 'In Pieces'. I personally worshipped the stereo that 'Can't Slow Down' played on, and the proof of the quality of the songs from that record are here on this show - they sit next to the time tested classics and hold their own.Kelly Hansen is an absolute revelation on this DVD. He was good on their 'Live In 05' release, I've seen them twice since then and each time they've been better and better. On here - the band are just that good, and Kelly seems even more at home. He's never still, commands the stage, sings supremely well and is comfortable addressing the audience. He's quite happy to leap off the stage and go for a wander among the people as well, which he does here.

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Every song on here is class, every song is played with skill and sung with conviction. I can think of few bands that have bounced back with such a significant shake up to their line up and do such a great job. As for Hansen, no disrespect to the great Lou, but I now unequivocally accept Kelly as Foreigner's singer. He's not only more comfortable with the songs, he's improved as a singer. I used to think the one Foreigner song he struggled a bit with was 'Juke Box Hero', which Lou always pushed to the limit live. Here though, Hansen gives his best ever rendition of it and it works like a charm. 'Juke Box Hero' is also one of several tracks that has had a few tweaks to allow the band to jam a bit and change things up. There's a spine tingling version of 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' which is just Kelly and Mick on keyboards for the first verse before the rest of the band come in.

On top of that, there is footage from the PBS Concert Soundstage performance. It gives you three songs that aren't in the main show, which are 'Too Late', the fabulous acoustic re-working of 'Say You Will', which is an absolute must see and a phenomenal rendition of one of my favourite Foreigner tracks, 'Night Life'. The fourth selection is 'Urgent' which is also on the main show, but any chance to see Thom Gimball's mind-blowing saxophone solo again is worth watching. All of these songs feature Jason Bonham on drums. On top of that there's three promo videos from the 'Can't Slow Down' album and interviews with Mick and Kelly. It's just sheer quality from start to finish. Get it bought.

James Gaden

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