A Foreigners Journey (2020) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 25, 2020    
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A Foreigners Journey - Picturedrome, Holmfirth (UK) - 29 February 2020

Just before the band hit the stage my wife asked me if I was going to review tonight's show. Initially, I had thought not; however, following what was the best performance I've ever seen by this popular tribute group, I decided it would be remiss of me not to. The fact that the Holmfirth Picturedrome was close to capacity is testament to the draw of A Foreigner's Journey, even more impressive when you consider the weather this evening. Indeed, halfway to Holmfirth, I had seriously considered turning around and going home. There was a combination of sleet, snow, rain and gale force winds making driving over the moors treacherous to say the least.

Most fans arrived looking like drowned rats but still in good spirits. 'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)' always gets the show off to a flyer. The sound and mix were as close to perfection as you can get at a live gig, not unusual in this magnificent venue. Sardinian singer Andrea Ojano was on top form, highlighted early doors by the classic Foreigner ballad 'Waiting For A Girl Like You'. The rest of the band, co-founders and rhythm section Paul Flanaghan and Ian Ferris (bass and drums respectively), guitarist Ricky Middleton and keyboard player Jon Pease, got to rock out during the long outro to Journey's 'Stone In Love', which they brilliantly sequed into the equally riff-tastic 'Edge OF The Blade'. This was one of my personal highlights of the evening, although I could see some punters were unfamiliar with the song (obviously only having the 'Greatest Hits' album).

Half way through the show, Flanaghan introduced fan Peter Carpenter to the stage, who took the opportunity to propose to his fiancée Sarah. Fortunately she said yes, and the already vibrant feel-good factor ramped up even further. 'Faithfully' followed and had the Picturedrome crowd in full voice; this is one of the reasons I love these tribute shows.
Despite no longer having a saxophone player in the band, I was pleased that AFJ resurrected arguably Foreigner's greatest song 'Urgent'. Journey's 'Who's Crying Now' was off the scale before Ferris, Flanaghan and Pease left the stage to leave Ojano and Middleton to perform an outstanding acoustic version of Journey's 'Suzanne'. The guitarist then left the stage, not before handing his acoustic guitar to the Italian singer for a solo spot with the rendition of Foreigner's 'The Flame Still Burns' (originally written for the soundtrack 1998 'Still Crazy' and released by Foreigner in 2016 as an EP).

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The very apt 'Cold As Ice' had everyone singing at the tops of their voices and 'Anyway You Want It' brought the main set to a rip-roaring climax.

The band returned for rapturous introductions before launching into Foreigner's 'Jukebox Hero'. 'I Want To Know What Love Is' was popular with the audience, which for a Rock concert, was unusual, as the females outnumbered the males. That just left time for the greatest Melodic Rock song of all-time, Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin''.
This was two hours of quality entertainment and the chance for people to escape the atrocious weather, pending Coronavirus pandemic and post-Brexit blues. I've had the privilege of seeing AFJ on numerous occasions, and they never disappoint, but this evening they were sublime and deserved of the title of the UK's Number One Tribute Band.

Setlist: Separate Ways [World's Apart] (Journey) / Ask The Lonely (Journey) / Double Vision (Foreigner) / Waiting For A Girl Like You (Foreigner) / Stone In Love (Journey) / Edge Of the Blade (Journey) / Head Games (Foreigner) / Faithfully (Journey) / I'll Be Alright Without You (Journey) / Urgent (Foreigner) / Be Good To Yourself (Journey) / Who's Crying Now (Journey) / Suzanne (Journey) / Flame Still Burns (Foreigner) / Feels Like The First Time (Foreigner) / Cold As Ice (Foreigner) / Anyway You Want It (Journey)
Encore: Jukebox Hero (Foreigner) / I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner) / Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)

Mark Donnelly

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