It’s no longer necessary for Lou Gramm to want to know what love is – his audience at Landmark on Main Street (@landmarkonmain) on October 11th demonstrated love in abundance. Gramm, the former front man of the band Foreigner (@foreignermusic) and a solo artist in his own right, dominated the airwaves in the 1980’s. Foreigner’s self-titled first album came out in 1977, the year I turned 13, and for me and many of my contemporaries, Foreigner’s music was the soundtrack of our adolescence.
Gramm hit a rough patch in the 1990’s – First there was a stint in rehab, followed by the devastating diagnosis of a brain tumor (luckily benign). A year after surgery, however, Gramm was back touring. In 2003, he left Foreigner and has been touring with his four piece band, made up of his brother, Ben Gramm on drums, Andy Knoll (keyboards), A.D. Zimmer (bass) and guitarist Michael Staertow (@michaelstaertow).
This was Landmark’s opening show of the season. It’s worth mentioning that during the summer, the theater installed a new sound system, and the high quality was apparent with the first drum beat.
The band took the stage and immediately launched into a string of hits, including “Double Vision,” “Ready or Not” (from Gramm’s first solo album), “Feels Like the First Time” and “Just Between You and Me” (from his second solo album). The band was tight – all excellent musicians who could handle the backing vocals.
But to answer the big question… Yes, Lou Gramm (@grammlou) has still got it. Although he sang his first few songs sitting down, by the middle of the show, he was standing up, playing cowbell and tambourine, and had hit his stride. When the keyboard player hit the opening chords for “Cold as Ice,” the audience went wild, and then the hits kept coming with “That was Yesterday” and then the crowd-pleasing “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” which garnered a standing ovation mid-concert. The enthusiastic audience was on its feet, cheering. When the din finally died down, an audience member shouted out “that was awesome!” and I had to silently agree.
The second half of the show was another string of hits, starting with “Dirty White Boy” followed by a funky version of “Urgent” which, in my opinion, was actually better than the recorded version. Gramm closed the show with “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” “Midnight Blue,” and finally “Jukebox Hero.”
After a protracted, and loud, standing ovation, Gramm’s band returned to the stage to jam to Free’s “All Right Now” before Gramm returned to the stage for an encore of “Long, Long Way from Home” followed by a rousing “Hot Blooded” that had everyone on their feet, dancing in the aisles.
If there had been any question about whether Lou Gramm is worthwhile to see live, that question was answered with a resounding “YES”! This concert was part of the Arts Alive Long Island festival. Your next chance to hear the new JBL PA (@theJBLpro) at Landmark is part of the “Acoustics on Main” series: the sold out Los Lobos (@loslobosband) concert on December 6th.