Rocking in Paradise on Father’s Day with Styx

By on June 20, 2018


Tommy Shaw-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)


Tesla, Joan Jett & Styx at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre

It was a hot Father’s Day Night on Sunday in Tampa but it wasn’t just because of the Florida summer heat. Styx with Joan Jett and Tesla  brought their highly-anticipated tour to the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre to a packed house and a very crowded lawn area.

Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tesla opened the show promptly at 7 and got the crowd warmed up by playing most of their well known hits with a sound that separated them from most of the “80’s bands.” Yes, Tesla struggled during the grunge years, but they never completely faded out, as they consistently toured with other bands like Def Leppard. There was a short time when members went out and did their own projects or took a break, but even when there was a short hiatus, Tesla never completely disbanded.

Frank Hannon-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tesla with a black and white “30 Years” backdrop and video screens behind them, opened with a surprising selection, “I Wanna Live” from their 6th studio release, Forever More. It caught me by surprise because if you weren’t a big Tesla fan, you weren’t familiar with the deep cut.  The audience then got their vocal chords warmed up during “Hang Tough” and “Heaven’s Trail” as they joined vocalist Jeff Keith, not only during the chorus, but throughout both songs.

Jeff Keith-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tesla then slowed it down a bit as guitarist Frank Hannon broke out the acoustic guitar during “What You Give” and arguably their biggest hit,  “Love Song.” Tesla also performed two of their hit cover songs, “Signs” and “Little Suzi.”  I never knew that “Little Suzi” was a cover, but the song was originally performed by the short-lived band PH.D in 1981.

Frank Hannon-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Hannon was amazing once again. When he wasn’t playing the acoustic guitar, his black Gibson was his axe for the evening, and he showcased his chops during the solo on their finale, “Modern Day Cowboy.” You may not hear his name mentioned in conversations like a Zakk Wylde or a Eddie Van Halen, but when you say Frank Hannon to other guitarists or musicians, you hear a lot of , “Hannon is one of my favorite players.”

Dave Rude, Brian Wheat & Frank Hannon-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

After “Modern Day Cowboy,” Tesla walked off the stage and waved to their fans. A new album is scheduled to be released soon, and for the fans who wanted more, a headlining tour will soon follow.

Jeff Keith-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were up next as the sun set over the Amphitheatre. Joan Jett, a Class of 2015 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, wore black from neck to toe with silver stars, and played 16 songs. Of those 16 songs, they performed 8 cover songs with 5 of them being big radio hits for the band.

It was a no-frills kind of stage setup and show. Just Joan and the Blackhearts doing what they have done since 1979, which is playing kick-ass, punk-infused rock-n-roll.

The Blackhearts opened their set with “Bad Reputation,” which was recently used by Ronda Rousey as her UFC walk-up music. The Runaways classic, “Cherry Bomb” and Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch (Oh Yeah),” got the crowd’s fist in the air and bodies dancing in the seats.

A familiar face then appeared on the video screens as segments from the Michael J. Fox movie “Light of Day” played. The Blackhearts played the title track that was originally written by Bruce Springsteen.

The energy in the crowd dropped off a bit and the show lost some momentum during “Fake Friends,” “Love is Pain” and “The French Song”, but Joan Jett and the Blackhearts saved the best for last.

After “Love is all Around,” the crowd was back with the jukebox hit, “I Love Rock and Roll” followed by “Crimson and Clover” than the self deprecating “I Hate MySelf for Loving You.”  The band finished off their set with the Sly and the Family Stone classic, “Everyday People.” I heard some scuttlebutt in the crowd about Joan Jett’s set being too long, particularly for a Sunday Night show, as Styx wouldn’t hit the stage until after 9:30 pm.


Todd Sucherman-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

After a brief stage changeover, drummer Todd Sucherman led Styx out on stage while “Overture” played in the background. Styx started their set with “Gone Gone Gone” and then Tommy Shaw took over the lead vocal duties from Lawrence Gowan on the 80’s rock  classic, “Blue Collar Man.” After the bombastic “Grand Illusion,” Gowan showcased his skills on the piano and lead vocals during the rock ballad, “Lady.”

James Young and Ricky Phillips-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

The party-like atmosphere continued with “Rocking in Paradise” as Gowan sported a top hat and guitarist Tommy Shaw and bassist Ricky Phillips ran all over the multi-leveled stage.  Styx also used the huge video screens which incorporated different lighting schemes and backdrops for each song.

Tommy Shaw asked the crowd how many newbies were in the crowd, and surprisingly, there were a bunch of hands in the air. Shaw then talked about their recent release “The Mission” being the band’s 6th concept album, and then played 2 songs from it, “Radio Silence” and “The Outpost.”

James Young-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Sandwiched between the two new songs, guitarist James “JY” Young took center stage during one of the heavier songs of the night, “Miss America.” Switching between Gowan, Shaw, and Young on lead vocals kept the crowd fired up all night, and Styx’s performance never achieved stale status.

Lawrence Gowan-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

After “Come Sail Away,” Styx took a brief break then surprised the crowd once again by playing “Mr. Roboto” from the 1983 release Killroy Was Here. Styx has been playing “Mr. Roboto” in its entirety on this tour for the first time in 35 years. Shiny metal robot heads flashed all over the video backdrops as the crowd joined in the song’s chorus, singing “Domo Arigato,” which means thank you in Japanese.

Tommy Shaw-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

As some of the crowd dispersed into the parking lot, Styx closed their 16 song set with Tommy Shaw on vocals during their biggest hard rock hit, “Renegade.” The song was a perfect track to end their show and has been the finale in Styx’s set for years.

As the lights came back on and we walked through the crowd, I heard a bunch “thank-yous” from some of the men to their wives and kids. It seems that Styx, Joan Jett and Tesla not only put on a great show, but the show also served as a perfect Father’s Day gift of Rock and Roll for a few lucky fathers in Tampa Bay.

For additional tour dates:


Additional Show Picture by Travis Failey

Ricky Phillips-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dave Rude-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

James “JY” Young-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Lawrence Gowan-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tommy Shaw-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brian Wheat-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)


Frank Hannon-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

James Young & Tommy Shaw-Styx (Photo-Travis Failey)

Troy Lucketta-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Jeff Keith-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Dave Rude-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)

Brian Wheat-Tesla (Photo-Travis Failey)









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