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"Our goal for this evening is to have a great time" - Foreigner rocks SaskTel Centre (May 11/2024)

by Scott Roos

photos by Deanna Roos

This past Saturday, May 11th, classic rockers Foreigner took the stage of Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre as part of their “Farewell Canada” tour. In general, it was a night of rollicking hits, soulful ballads, love, laughter and longing. In short, the band gave a fond farewell to their fans in Saskatchewan’s “City of Bridges” with the grace and class befitting a legendary rock band. 


Opening the night with “Double Vision” the band was firing on all cylinders from the get go. Kelly Hansen, mic stand in hand in a Steven Tyler-esque fashion, strutted across the stage with confidence and bravado, proving to be a magnetic frontman with the vocal chops to handle anything the Foreigner catalog could throw his way. He seemed to have an abundance of energy as the band powered through their set. "Our only goal for this evening is to have a great f*cking time," he told the crowd and the crowd obliged him.

Guitarists Bruce Watson and Luis Maldonado were stellar, taking turns playing lead lines proving they can hammer nails with the best of them. They are a world class pairing of guitarists. Jeff Pilson, who many would know from his time in Dokken, held down the bottom end with sufficient bass chops but also showed a penchant for keyboard playing during the band's big dramatic power ballads. Speaking of keyboards, keyboardist Michael Bluestein was absolutely kickass on this night. Especially when he shredded out an extended keytar solo during “Urgent”. In the meantime, Chris Frazier laid down a solid foundation of groove on the drums. 

Practically speaking, given the volume of bangers this band has, every tune in their set on this night was a highlight. “Feels Like the First Time”, “Cold As Ice” and “Jukebox Hero” had the audience singing along loud and proud with their favourite band. “Waiting For a Girl Like You” showed the band can definitely bring it down as did encore song “I Want To Know What Love Is”. Incidentally, the band paid it forward by inviting the St. Joseph High School Choir to join them on stage to help them sing the familiar refrain of the latter ballad. “It’s a small way that we can pay back for all the greatness and goodness that’s been given to us,” Hansen remarked as the choir was exciting the stage. It was indeed a great moment. The night ended as it began - with a rocker. This time in the form of “Hot Blooded” and everyone in the crowd went home happy to have been afforded an evening of quality entertainment.

So, here’s the thing, with the last remaining founding member in the band Mick Jones stepping away from touring duties, after hearing the group perform in Saskatoon, it’s apparent that the band's legacy is still in very good hands. Hansen has spent nineteen years fronting the band. Pilson has been on bass for twenty. Bluestein? Sixteen. Watson? Thirteen. Frazier? Twelve. These guys have no doubt played these songs under the watchful eye of Jones hundreds… Maybe even thousands? Of times. Guitarist Maldonado, the newest member of the Foreigner crew, who joined in 2021, comes off like a true professional. The Foreigner sound and vibe, the passion and precision, is well represented. They ARE Foreigner and, since this is their last hurrah, there’s not too many more chances to see them do their thing. If they are coming your way, see them. Get it while you can... You will have a great f*cking, time.



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