Lou Gramm - vocals; Mick Jones - guitar, vocals; Ian Mc Donald - keyboards, sax, guitar, vocals; Al Greenwood - keyboards; Ed Gagliardi - bass, vocals; Dennis Elliott - drums, vocals
In 1977, you couldn't touch Foreigner. The band sold four million copies of its self-titled debut. And though they were a new band with a new album, in May of 1977 when they performed this set at Chicago's Mantra Studios, Foreigner played like the readymade superstars they were.
When British rockers, guitarist Mick Jones (Spooky Tooth, Leslie West) and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald (King Crimson) met Americans Lou Gramm (vocals), Al Greenwood (keyboards), and Ed Gagliardi (bass), with the addition of British drummer, Dennis Elliott, they became exactly one half English and one half American. Deciding they would call themselves Foreigner, its members all spoke the common language of dramatic and dynamic rock & roll. Jones wrote most of the material, and his English prog-rock-meets-blues-rock background melded into the common parlance of US stadium rock, circa the mid to late '70s.
Opening the set here with the laidback "Woman Oh Woman," the band works its way up the ladder with the ascending "The Damage is Done." "Long Long Way From Home" (a Top 20 single) and "Headknocker" loosen things up a bit; these riff-heavy rockers are perfect for stomping and strutting through the big rooms Foreigner ruled in the '70s. "Feels Like the First Time" was of course the band's undeniable first Top 40 hit, though it wasn't necessarily the strongest cut. "I Need You" is essentially built as a showcase for Gramm's gritty vocal style, also built on British blues rock, and a blueprint of sorts for big '80s metal.
Foreigner stayed on the higher reaches of the album charts for the rest of the year. This Chicago appearance marks the beginning of what would be a long and very successful trip for the band. Founding member Jones remains a traveling man, on the road with a revised line-up of his band, giving a whole new meaning to his phrase, "Feels Like the First Time." No strangers to success on either side of the Atlantic, Foreigner remains among the first names in '70s stadium rock and permanent residents in the big arenas they called home.
-Written by Denise Sullivan
This performance was originally recorded before a small studio audience. However, the tapes in the King Biscuit Archives had been prepared for radio broadcast, with audience noise added in. Tracks 1-5 are sourced from broadcast master reels, while tracks 6-8 come from a set of outtake reels (hence the difference in sound quality). Though combining the recordings makes for a slightly choppy listen, these are the best versions of the performances available to us and, in order to include as much of the material as possible, we have decided to include the tracks from both sources.