James "J.Y." Young - vocals, guitar; Tommy Shaw - vocals, guitar; Chuck Panozzo - bass guitar; Dennis de Young - vocals, keyboards; John Panozzo - drums
In their first San Francisco appearance, Styx lights up a hot set culled from their first A&M release, Equinox, and peppered by entries from their Wooden Nickel days.
Guitarist John Curulewski left the band after the release of Equinox at the tail-end of 1975, and was quickly replaced for promotional-touring duties by Tommy Shaw. Shaw's influence as a hit-maker would become apparent with the release of "Mademoiselle," a Top-40 hit that was his recorded vocal debut, and released in October of 1976 on the Crystal Ball LP. (Apparently none of Crystal Ball had been conceived of at the time of this recording, as the LP is absent from this show.)
Shaw is introduced on the second song of the set, "22 Years" (an old Curulewski song, incidentally), with the encouragement: "Tommy! Some rock and roll for San Francisco." And between his guitar work and high-pitched voice, Shaw makes his presence felt.
The synth keys become a fixture on "Lorelei," from the Equinox record. At the end of that number, 6:20 into the track, de Young can be heard muttering curses at his keyboard, as the instrument is just as integral to the following "You Need Love," from Styx II.
Five of the eight songs contained in this set are culled from Equinox. Only the aforementioned "You Need Love" and "22 Years," as well as "Lady" appeared on the earlier Wooden Nickel Records releases. But "Lady" was especially important to Styx's career. It had been recorded for Styx II, and was a favorite on their local Chicago circuit, but it incidentally led to their deal with A&M, and became a national hit when it was re-released two albums after its original date.
Styx has just broken into the mainstream at the time of this recording, and apparently giving the full country their first go-around. You can hear the well-seasoned, yet still commercially young, band enjoying themselves, as they elicit many whoops and hollers throughout the show.