I traipsed over to the Mohegan Sun Casino tonight for a Styx/Boston double bill. When I was about 13 years old, I was very familiar with Styx's body of work. Back then of course, one bought actual vinyl record albums, and Styx consistently had the kind of cover art that appealed to junior high school boys. Of course, so did Boston, with its images of American cities being transported through space on starships that looked like giant guitars.
The Styx line-up was dominated by Tommy Shaw. It's clearly his band since lead singer and songwriter Dennis DeYoung was forced out about a decade ago. Thus we didn't hear some of the softer hits such as "Lady" and "Babe," as the band preferred to draw from the harder rocking classics from its past. No new music tonight, thankfully, just a parade of pretty familiar numbers, highlighted by "Come Sail Away," near the end of the set. The ensemble performed with a high level of energy and engagement with the crowd.
Boston had a different vibe when it came time to take the stage. Under the leadership of Tom Scholz, as geeky a rock star as you'll find, the band was technically precise if somewhat lacking in charisma. Since Boston was always about the sound of Scholz's guitars and the late Brad Delp's vocals, the fact that these were replicated pretty well in the arena tonight made the set list a thoroughly nostalgic affair. Hearing "Don't Look Back" performed live after listening to it countless times in the cafeteria jukebox in ninth grade certainly brought back memories for me.