the mighty thor-eigner!
Foreigner @ Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, Sydney NSW Australia 18/10/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.
Eons ago, well, 1976 seems like eons, earth was graced with the all-mighty power of hot blooded gods of musical thunder, Thor-eigner! Today, these gods embark on an urgent mission a long, long way from home, as they fight to save me and everyone else, here at the Opera House in Sydney, from the cold as ice frost-giants of the ever-changing pop-music scene of today, and restore our faith in these mighty rock gods. These rock-gods may have been the juke box hero once before, but that was yesterday. The real world is polluted with these musical frost-giants, and pose a great threat to humanity (that part is true).
Can these gods really stand the test of time and be gods until the end of time with the flame still burning, or will humanity’s minds be slaves to today’s pop?..
The 21st Century Symphony Orchestra breaks the silence with a dark, ominous orchestral aura in ‘Overture’, presenting thee who bare its omnicity, with an accompanying dramatic suspense, as the band emerge from thee darkness…. from behind the stage curtains.
The mighty Thor-eigner start their musical reign with an equally as dark aura as their orchestral predecessor introduction in ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’ before the rock ‘n’ roll frost-giant of ‘Cold As Ice’ takes hold. The mighty wrath essence in ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’ that is bestowed upon the audience is truly worthy of the gods, with its deep cello rhythm, pushing forward and lapping at the thunderous guitar strikes’ and enormous commanding vocals’ coat-tails above. The band now rev up and egg-on the crowd, like Thor egging on his opponent in battle, to raise the energy tremendously for ‘Cold As Ice’. Thor-eigner really swing their mighty hammer and charge the high-voltage energy sky-high in ‘Cold As Ice’! I’m truly astounded at how perfectly clear and exact to the original recorded version the vocals are, just like they were in 1977! (I suppose this is the musical equivalent of Chris Hemsworth pulling off a famous scene out of a Thor comic perfectly).The crowd sing along in echo, like the sound of thunder echoed in the night sky, atop the subtle but crucial role the symphony orchestra plays in elevating and charging up the main hook melody, building up and driving the energy exponentially to erupt as the lead singer enters the crowd and flies and weaves in and out of the seating stalls, while the band continue sending shockwaves of energy our way.
Just like the mighty Thor succumbing to his feeling for the rather attractive earthling by the name of Jane, these gods of rock present us with a dark minor toned, lustful cry of vulnerability and passion in ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’, before the defiant charge of valour in ‘That Was Yesterday’, and lastly for this chapter, pleading desperation of intoxicating power in ‘Say You Will’. The dark potent minor sway in ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’ with aching vocals of obvious emotional depth that elevate to incredible heights nearing the songs’ completion, is truly enigmatic for ones senses to behold, and although seems to lower the energy on-stage, the musical energy does not yield in the slightest, and further adds to the captivation of the audience. The leading warrior of vocals would appear to be within quite a struggle in the minor-tone verses of ‘That Was Yesterday’, however, the dark struggles of the verse sections only amplifies the blazing defiant light in the major-tone chorus, as the soaring vocals break free from the darkness’ grasps, adding A New Hope (oops! Wrong franchise!) to the musical battle. The mighty vocal warrior now informs us that “this is what I like to call the acoustic section of the show”, and just like the pause within the battles that any Marvel hero seems to get roped in to, giving them a chance to re-strategize and re-energize, (usually around the halfway point of the movie), this acoustic rendition of ‘Say You Will’ brings a refreshing, hypnotic fragrant delight to the music. The song is initiated with exquisite flute melodies gliding above crisp rhythmic keys, before the pleading yet confident vocals take hold. This may be an acoustic rendition yes, but do not be mistaken, that does not mean it lacks musical layers, the orchestra fills the space around the band like a warm glow, and to further add to filling any gap of energy, the band instigate a clap-along and encourage singing from their followers.
The warrior of vocals tells us about the next acoustically renditioned song, ‘The Flame Still Burns’, before a wind of crisp, rich vocal delicacy glides above the orchestral clouds of strings and horns, with poetic acoustic guitar beside them. As the vocals glide and take flight above the decadent orchestral clouds, they elevate to their full striking potential nearing the songs’ end.
Now for the rest of the band to reunite musically with the vocal warrior, for the rest of the battle to be waged…
The rest of this battle against the evils of pop music as we now know it, is fought valiantly if I do say so myself, from the way the mighty vocal warrior picks himself back up after forgetting the words in ‘Feels Like The First Time’ (it probably is not). The vocal warrior proceeds to rock out and tear around the stage in this song, and for many other classics like the lustful surge of anthemic glory of ‘Dirty White Boy’, that charges up the energy in the crowd, the lethal weapon-style guitar riffs and dramatic retro synth and orchestral strings of ‘Urgent’, and finally, to slam the hammer down hard and vanquish the remains of the evils of pop music of today, that may infect the minds present here tonight, the roaring sing-along clap of thunderous rock notoriety of ‘Juke Box Hero’.
Ah yes, and what would a heroic rock show of music be without the abundance of electrifying guitar solo’s located in a songs bridge section? In this case, the guitar and horn solos exceed one's expectation with the assisting companionship of the orchestra adding more static textures around them. And of course, the victory of a glorious musical battle is not held from one standing still, you do not see Thor summon lightning to defeat his enemies as he merely stands at ease. And as so, the band all move around quite energetically and fittingly for the high levels of energy charged in their performed music. All of them seem rejuvenated and re-born as they bask in the musical glory, and feed off their followers energy, and appear as they likely did when they first united in 1976….. Although, it is not 1976 anymore, and I suspect much Paracetamol and possibly a visit to a chiropractor will be needed tomorrow…
Yes, our heroes have emerged victorious it would seem, pop music as we know it today will not be showing itself in these parts any time soon indeed, the end, roll the credits……. I suppose this is the part where you’re expecting Samuel L Jackson with an eye-patch to come out and give a cheeky teaser for the next movie aye? Well, how about an encore?
The musical warriors return triumphantly for one last confrontation with ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, and finally, ‘Hot Blooded’. The vocal warrior revs up his followers in a lengthy chat telling his followers to share the love, put your arm around the person next to you, be it a stranger, or your ex, or your future ex, in ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ to heighten the energy and anticipation, for when the hall erupts into a soulful chorus of full-hearted anthem. After another electrifying guitar solo in the songs’ bridge section, the band call out a choir to sing with everyone on stage and in the audience, which resonates and glows with beauty. The band now thank us all, and thank and cast aside the orchestra for one last song, just as a traditional rock band. If one had doubted rock’s triumph to glory, and its defeat of today’s pop, you are sorely mistaken! ‘Hot Blooded’ is a quintessential valorous deity of rock, performed as a rock anthem should be, hot, sweaty, vocally powerful, energetic, and filled with shredding guitar riffs and solos with intricate drum patterns to knock one’s senses on their asses.
Now, this is the time that Samuel L Jackson with an eye-patch would be talking with Agent Coulson and Coulson would say something like, “what now sir? What if they return (in this case pop music of today), can we count on the Avengers (in this case Foreigner) to fight for us again?” and Director Fury (Samuel L Jackson) would reply, “let them come, after that amazing display of courage, valour and talent performed at its finest, they’ll be no match for Foreigner”..... Totally going to be in the next Avengers, you’ll see.