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We all wish that we can live our heyday forever. Sadly, Father Time doesn’t want to grant us this wish. And thus, we grow older with every passing year. Our favorite music artists continue to perform and put out new music throughout their lengthy career. However, they must call it quits eventually. Foreigner has sadly reached this point where they are ready to hang up the guitars. Travelling on a worldwide Historic Farewell Tour, they weren’t leaving without making a big last splash on people’s lives. As fate would have it, California was hit with a tropical storm and the potential of a hurricane the day before Foreigner’s show here. Mother Nature was still looking out for us, and thankfully the storm passed without doing much damage to Orange County, and Foreigner was able to still put on their show at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA.

Foreigner is doing something amazing on this tour, by helping promote music and the arts with schools. At every stop, they are hosting a competition between local high school choir teams. The winner gets a donation made to the school, and the team themselves gets to perform and open for this tour. This day, we got to hear the Sound Effects from Los Alamitos High School. Unfortunately, due to the tropical storm that passed by California, this caused Foreigner to get into the venue late, and the shows start time was pushed back a little bit. Due to this push back, the Sound Effects set was sadly cut from 20 minutes to only 8 minutes. None the less, the boys of this choir made it their mission to harmonize in the most beautiful way they could and bring some well known doo-wop classics to Irvine.

Joining Foreigner on this tour was fellow 80s hard rock pioneer’s Loverboy. I was fortunate to see Loverboy last year with Styx and REO Speedwagon, and to hear they would be helping Foreigner out on this tour, I just knew we were in for a good time. Opening their set with “Notorious,” lead singer Mike Reno carries with his voice a bit more gravitas and grit behind it, compared to the brighter tenor you hear on record. This doesn’t take away from Loverboy’s sound, as Mike is still just as charming with his smiling and charisma on stage. Guitarist Paul Dean and Bassist Ken Sinnaeve play off each other with style and flair. Often rocking out right next to each other, and nearly smashing their guitars into each other. Keyboardist Doug Johnson finds ways to blend his synth into the songs that just bring them to life and makes you relive the 80s big hair days. While drummer Matt Frenette stacks his kit with drumheads and cymbals galore but knows how to be a technician and finesses his kit with a delicate touch. Loverboy’s set was also sadly cut short due to the later start time, but they made it count with songs like “The Kid is Hot Tonite,” “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “Turn Me Loose,” and ending with the always popular “Working for the Weekend.” Loverboy continues to be a solid band, that fans are always grateful to see still performing.

Then it was time for the final goodbye. As Foreigner stepped onto the Irvine stage for the last time, fans erupted in screams and cheers. This band has meant so much to so many of us over the years, the fans wanted to make sure that was clear to the band. Opening with “Double Vision,” the crowd was ready to sing all night long with vocalist Kelly Hansen. Hansen is still a top notch frontman after all these years, working the mic stand, playing for the photographers, and making the woman lustfully scream out. Guitarist Bruce Watson and Luis Maldonado perform with their own charm that can steal the attention off Hansen, who is more than happy to let Watson & Maldonado shine in the spotlight of the front of the stage. Bassist Jeff Pilson sadly hurt his leg and was performing seated at the back of the stage. But for “Cold as Ice,” he got positioned front and center to play the keys for everybody to see. Keyboardist Michael Bluestein provided the harmonizing vocals that helped elevate Hansen’s powerful voice, while drummer Chris Frazier is the perfect timekeeper behind the kit.

Foreigner was in perfect sync and proving why they have enjoyed such a tenured career of success. They wanted to make this farewell tour special, and included a small acoustic performance in the middle of the show that brought every member of the band to the front of the stage. Performing three songs like this were “When it Comes to Love,” “Girl on the Moon,” and “Say You Will.” Foreigner managed to make this 13,000 seat venue feel like we were sitting in a bar listening to some guys just jam out. Hansen even took this moment to introduce the members of the band and give a speech about how much the fans have meant to Foreigner for the last 46 years. And though they are sad to be saying farewell, they have always appreciated everyone who has shown up to every show. It was hard not to get emotional hearing Hansen’s speech and realizing just how many hits Foreigner have put out over the years. But those tears were quickly brushed to the side as we all started rocking out again to songs like “Feels Like the First Time,” “Urgent,” “Juke Box Hero,” and getting two hear a two song encore that included “I Want to Know What Love is,” and ending with “Hot Blooded.”

The guitars rang out, the band waved as they walked off the stage, and fans continued to cheer. Foreigner let so many of us relive our younger days by playing the soundtrack of our teens and twenties, and we were eternally grateful to hear it live again. This was the last time we were going to see Foreigner and as the lights came back on, you could see the bittersweet joyful sadness of the fans as they headed back to their cars.

Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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