“With this rise of AI and technology, I think it’s important to say that we’re playing and singing all of this live,” Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen announced during a break in the band’s set. “No computer bullshit — we’re old school, just like you!” Cheers reverberated around the Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre in Phoenix, jam-packed despite the incoming storms. The crowd, comprising fans in their 40s and older, had arrived for the big send-off, and they intended to enjoy it.
Loverboy was a natural fit for Foreigner’s farewell tour, a peer in the 80s rock space with plenty of fan overlap. So it’s no surprise the crowd was on its feet for most of the 10-song setlist. Vocalist Mike Reno dedicated “Queen of the Broken Hearts” to the ladies in the audience, but there wasn’t too much commentary. The band kept their focus, closing out their set with back-to-back bangers “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.”
The amphitheater was abuzz leading up to the headliners’ arrival, and it quickly became evident why. Foreigner immediately brought the high-octane energy from the first drum beats of “Double Vision” to the arrival of the full band for “Cold as Ice” and “Head Games.” Kelly Hansen didn’t stay still for a single moment, and guitarists Bruce Watson and Luis Maldonado similarly traversed the stage to ensure there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
For the second acts, the band gathered in the center of the stage for an acoustic-mini set interspersed with stories about each member and how the group’s revival came to be. This is when Hansen gave his speech about being old school and when the rest of the band applauded him for being, in their opinion, the best frontman in rock right now. Each member’s appreciation for each other was apparent and genuine as they reflected on past decades.
After wrapping their acoustic session, Foreigner launched into “Feels Like the First Time” and “Urgent” with extended instrumental interludes, a keyboard solo, and a drum solo straight into closer “Jukebox Hero.” And with a quick-to-follow encore of “I Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded,” the band went out with a bang — a proper farewell.
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Story and photos by Taylor Knauf