Forty years is nearly half a lifetime and in that span of time, a lot of life is lived. At 40, some still “Want to Know What Love Is“, yet most temperaments have mellowed and aren’t quite as, “Hot Blooded” as they used to be. Some, however, legitimately begin suffering from “Double Vision“. It’s when most grudgingly celebrate being over the hill and talk about things like mid-life crisis’.
But not Foreigner, the band responsible for producing some of America’s biggest hits. Instead, they are celebrating 40 years of with an anniversary tour that boasts an unforgettable lineup that includes Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham!
We caught up with saxophonist Tom Gimbel of Foreigner who gave us back stage access to what has been going on in the tour so far. He began, “We’re just having the time of our lives! Kelly Hanson, our singer, takes the stage by storm and talks to the audience like they’re his friends.” He continued, “It’s very up close and personal. He wants to get everyone involved.”
Some of the highlights to date include a surprise appearance on the stage by Kid Rock we discovered. “Playing in Detroit when Kid Rock jumped up on stage would be on the highlight reel.” Tom revealed, “It was so cool! It’s his hometown.”
But Gimbel also disclosed that there is never a dull moment touring with Cheap Trick either. “It’s always entertaining! The music is fantastic, the sound of the band is fantastic! And it goes on from there.” He continued, “He [Rick Nielson] will come up and hold his guitar in your lap and make you play it. These guys are out of their mind! They’re so crazy and fun and wonderful, every single one of them!”
After four decades of playing, we wondered if any of Foreigner’s hit songs have gotten old for the band. Tom’s resounding enthusiasm countered, “These songs, I still like them as much as I ever have, that’s every single one of them! They’re fun to play. They don’t get tired.” He elaborated, “That’s the beauty of the Foreigner catalogue. These songs stand up really well over time and repeated listenings because Mick Jones, the master craftsman songwriter and founder/composer, consciously didn’t put stuff in there that gets on your nerves. I don’t know how else to say it.” Concluding, “I just have a ball for different reasons. Like the guitar riff in ‘Double Vision’, I love it! Not only does it not get old, it excites me as much as it ever did!”
After this many miles on the road touring, singing, playing for millions the challenges the band still face are much simpler than before, and rooted at home. “The only challenge is if you book like an eight week tour. Usually six is the maximum.” Tom enlightened us, “You can get a little stir crazy or homesick or whatever you would call it. I’ve heard that happens to a lot of bands.” Summarizing, “Really, the only challenge is to convince your management team not to overbook you.”
So after 23 charting hits in the Hot 100 and decades of music that has defined our era, the grizzled and seasoned musicians of Foreigner still keep it all in proper perspective. Gimbel describes, “Playing outdoors, the moon is out, the crowd singing along. The lights are incredible! This is why we did it!” Concluding, “We’re loving it, we’re loving it! We wouldn’t trade it for anything!”
Don’t miss Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bohnam on this epic 40th anniversary tour! Check here for the Complete List of Tour Dates.