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Tuesday
Apr102012

Lou Gramm - Bear's Den, Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls, NY - April 6, 2012

Review by John Jeffrey, Photos by Diana MacDonald
 
Niagara Falls, NY - The myth regarding vocalist Lou Gramm is that he went from being the singer from one of the biggest bands of the 70's/80's (Foreigner), to becoming transformed into some Quasimoto type creature that can no longer sing.  Last Friday night, Lou Gramm performed his first concert of 2012 (at the Bear's Den inside of the Seneca Niagara casino), not only showing that these myths are totally untrue, but that he still has it, and he's ready to give the band that calls themselves "Foreigner" (which currently does not include any of the original members of the band in it's lineup) a run for their money.
 
Although Lou's appearance was in fact, altered, due to his pituitary gland being damaged from his surgery in 1997,in which a brain tumor was removed, the man is not at all deformed or disfigured, which has been purported.  In fact, Lou seems very comfortable in his skin these days, and for a man of his age and stature, is looking more and more like the 'John Wayne of Rock and Roll.'
 
Being billed as "Lou Gramm of Foreigner," he did not disappoint the packed crowd, as Lou and co. pulled out 10 of the best Foreigner songs, while mixing in 3 cuts from his solo career.  Although Lou has lost a few of the high notes from over the years, he gave a soulful delivery on all of the tunes, showinghis intimate relationship with the lyrics of these classic songs.
 
Gramm's backing band was competent, but lead guitarist (formerly of Black Sheep) Don Mancuso's performance really had me longing for Mick Jones.  Mancuso's superfluous stage moves at times hindered his guitar playing, and while his added presence and energy was well intended, when contrasted with Gramm and bassist, AD Zimmer, it really made Mancuso appear as the odd man out. 

Nevertheless, the show was solid and the fans ate up every minute of it.  The band received standing ovations during "I Want to Know What Love Is" and several of the following Foreigner hits.  They really brought the house down with "Juke Box Hero," which left the crowd screaming for an encore.  The funny thing about having the name "Lou," when the crowd chants your name, it sounds like 'Boo.'  But no one was booing, as they sincerely wanted more from the veteran rock star.  Gramm obliged, as they ended the night with "Hot Blooded" and "Long, Long Way from Home." Being a native of Rochester, NY, the crowd reminded Gramm that he wasn't that far from home, and hopefully he'll make his way around the area again in the not too distant future.
 
Setlist
Feels Like the First Time
Cold as Ice 
Ready or Not 
Just Between You and Me 
Blue Morning
I Want to Know What Love Is 
Urgent 
Double Vision 
Dirty White Boy 
Midnight Blue 
Juke Box Hero
Long, Long Way from Home 
Hot Blooded