While Styx fans haven’t had a record of original music to listen to since 1999, it doesn’t mean the band has been inactive. A proven home-run hitter on the live circuit, the band has been answering the demand for concerts over the past decade.
There has also been new product trickling out during recent years. The last six months, in fact, has seen a couple of new collectibles hit the market. The first is Regeneration Volume I & II which is a package of songs that the band has re-recorded. It’s an interesting lineup as they’ve not gone for obvious greatest hits.
The inclusion of deeper album cuts like “Snowblind” and “Queen of Spades” mix well with staples such as “Crystal Ball” and “Come Sail Away”. Canadian superstar Lawrence Gowan, of course, has assumed the keyboardist/vocal position vacated by Dennis DeYoung and fits in effortlessly. All of the songs featuring him like “The Grand Illusion” and “Come Sail Away” remain very close to the original.
All of Tommy Shaw’s songs are pretty faithful to the original as well. However “Crystal Ball” gets a slightly elongated solo which is pretty tasty. The only part of the record that I thought didn’t flow as well was the new version of “Lorelei” which features JY on vocals although the whole band joins in on the chorus. DeYoung sang the version on Equinox. JY is usually on the harder rock numbers and this sounds out of place here.
There are three new songs on the record. The first, “Difference in the World”, is wickedly good, partly because the harmonies on the chorus absolutely make it.
The other two tracks are versions of the songs “Coming of Age” and “High Enough” originally done by Damn Yankees which featured Mr. Tommy Shaw. Altogether there is enough interesting material here to warrant fans buying.
The other and latest product on the shelves is a live DVD of last year’s tour where the band played the material from the records The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight back to back.
Fans could argue that doing this lineup meant that other beloved staples such as “Crystal Ball” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” got bounced from the lineup. On the other side of the argument, however, is the opportunity to hear material that is rarely or never played live. “Castle Walls”, “Sing for the Day” and “Man in the Wilderness”. There are plenty of highlights on this show and the band was clearly enjoying themselves, hurtling around the stage like young upstarts half their age.
An interesting segment is included on the DVD which is “Putting on the Show --- an in-depth look at the people and equipment behind the scenes.” It’s always interesting to see these kinds of pieces and the details that are particular to each band.
Overall both the CD and DVD will make fans happy and are definitely worthwhile to own.
* Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, I received this CD free of charge from the record company.