Saturday night, the band Foreigner performed at The Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside. I was lucky enough to be able to shoot some photos of the show, which was my second time shooting photos of the band. The first time was back in 2011 at the Hollywood Bowl with Journey. That was a great show to photograph, with the Bowl being so iconic, but I was really excited to shoot this weekend in a small theater like The Fox.
I did not know it going in, but there was an opening act. Preston Smith, pictured below, is a Blues Rock singer-songwritter from Texas, who’s known for writing one of the songs from the Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail”. He was a blast to watch, with a mix of a one-man band style playing, along a drummer and standup bassist.
As you can see in the image above, he keeps a ton of gear on the mic stand and he plays a mean harmonica.
When Foreigner took the stage , there was an energy in the room. Lighting was perfect, with some nice white follow-spots (a nice change from a photo point of view), and the band opened with Double Vision, followed by Head Games and Cold As Ice.
Seeing a band like Foreigner in this setting is perfect. Vocalist Kelly Hansen (above) is a ball of energy, and in fact my wife commented he reminded her of Steven Tyler.
Bassist Jeff Pilson is actually one of my favorite performers to photo shoot. Here is a guy that has played with some of the best in the business… Dokken, Dio, McAuley Schenker Group, and a lot more.
The photo of Jeff Pilson above almost looks posed. Hansen introduced the band and, with the great lighting, there was an opportunity to shoot shots I normally can’t get. Almost portrait like. Usually when shooting a band there is a photo pit, and the stage is up pretty high. That results in a lot of up-the-nose shots. At The Fox, there is no pit and the stage is low.
Bruce Watson, pictured above, is a great guitarist, and when Hansen introduced the band’s founder, Mick Jones, you could feel the excitement in the room as he came on stage.
Mick had stepped aside a few years ago due to illness. Saturday night there was no question Mick was back, and it was great to see him doing well.
In rock there is the thought that all bands have fun on stage. I would bet most do, but even after this many years playing these hits, these guys were on fire. This was very real fun. It was obvious.
Rounding out the lineup this weekend was Thom Gimbel, pictured above, who played guitar along with some killer sax. This guy may have smiled the entire show.
On drums, Chris Frazier. As you can see below, he was thirsty…
Keyboards in Foreigner has changed a few times in the last year. Michael Bluestein stepped aside due to illness in 2012, and on Saturday night we were treated to Derek Hilland, pictured below.
Derek has played with Whitesnack, Iron Butterfly, and… more.
Near the end of the night, the Riverside Arlington High School Chamber Singers took the stage with band. The band even raffled a guitar, signed by the band, to raise money for the kids. At this point you knew you were watching something special.
During the song with the kids, Hansen took my camera and walked around the stage firing off a ton of shots. I think he just held the shutter and fired at 8 frames a second, because there were a ton of shots. Needless to say, focus was not his main goal, but he took the two shots below. I really like the one from behind Jeff Pilson looking out at the crowd.
Bottom line is you should see Foreigner live. Seriously.
One last thing, I love this theater. It’s beautifully redone, and the vibe the minute you walk in the door is great. It is quickly becoming my favorite concert spot. Still weird to think I used to watch movies there, including Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare”, but maybe that’s why it feels so comfortable.
Were you at the show? Let me know your thoughts below…