Foreigner present and past enjoyed a triumphant convergence over the weekend in Mount Pleasant, Mich., as the group’s alumni joined forces with the current lineup for a pair of shows that were filmed and recorded for release next year.
The shows at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Hotel marked the most extensive reunion yet of members from Foreigner’s first incarnation, with founder Mick Jones joined by original frontman Lou Gramm, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, keyboardist Al Greenwood and drummer Dennis Elliott, as well as second bassist Rick Wills.
Following a 70-minute set from the current lineup — which included a Gramm cameo during an acoustic “Fool For You Anyway” — the troupe, dubbed Foreigner 1, played a five-song set that included titled “Feels Like The First Time,” which Jones dedicated to the late original bassist Ed Gagliardi, “Double Vision,” “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” “Long Long Way From Home” and “Dirty White Boy.”
Wills cracked at the start of the set that, “We can’t believe it. You probably don’t believe it either. But it feels like the first time,” while Gramm told the crowd that “It feels very natural to be up here with these guys tonight.”
The show finished with both bands, 12 musicians in total, performing an encore of a choir-assisted “I Want To Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded.”
Prior to the show, Jones told us that if all goes well we may be seeing more reunion shows in the future:
“I think this has been a bit of a testing round to see how we are together, just as individuals, and see if we feel that it’s something we should carry on, and I think everything’s pointing towards more events like this…It was a bit of an eye-opener, actually, just how tight it was with everybody, so that’s given us ideas to perhaps do it again. Who knows; We’ll pop up somewhere.”
No release date has been set for the planned broadcast, CD and home video releases of the shows. The current Foreigner begins a Canadian tour on Wednesday (October 11) and wraps up the year with casino shows during mid-November in Mississippi.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.