15/04/2014 | Foreigner – Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Sarah Carpenter

Who could forget the 80’s power ballad I Want To Know What Love Is? An almost universally known record and undoubtedly the most popular track from British-American rockers Foreigner. With an impressive back catalogue of material (and possibly an equally impressive number of different line-ups over the years), it was a concern as to whether today’s Foreigner were really going to nail the classic tracks such as Cold as Ice, Urgent, Double Vision and Juke Box Hero that were really definitive of the band’s 80s sound.

Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen, however, had no qualms in getting stuck into the band’s vast discography of songs. With a setlist which included Hot Blooded, Double Vision and Dirty White Boy (as well as the aforementioned), the crowd had no hesitation in singing along to every word (which Hansen graciously thanked them for on several occasions).

The musicianship among the band was truly evident, with each member holding their own on their instrument of choice (as well as sometimes each other’s – a bunch of truly talented guys). Thom Gimbel especially, on guitar, flute, saxophone (as well as singing backing vocals) deserving of additional praise for that saxophone solo in Urgent – a real crowd-pleaser and a definite highlight of the show. Hansen also continued to strut, leap and generally maintain his energetic and dynamic presence as front man for the entirety of the set, while somehow managing to belt out the on-point melodies and harmonic vocals which almost define the band.

The support from Europe and FM is equally worth a mention. FM especially really were exceptional. Both bands proceeded to join Foreigner on stage for the ever so popular I Want To Know What Love Is during the encore, ensuring the final leg of their UK tour was equally as memorable for fans and the bands alike. As a nineteen year old girl and perhaps not the band’s main demographic, as evident from a quick glance around the room, the evening was still hard to fault. Foreigner have managed to preserve their definitive sound with their impeccable musicianship while bringing a current youthful energy to the table. A real treat for fans of rock.

Photo credit: Andy Hibbs