Sail with rock band Styx on the Las Vegas Strip

There aren’t many bands with half a century of history, but it’s been so long since a group of young musicians from the Chicago area changed their name to Styx after signing a recording contract. One of the biggest bands in the world from the late 70s to the early 80s, Styx withstood changes in musical trends and personnel while continuing on a path that led to their current inspiration phase, one that finds them celebrating their 50th anniversary with a return to Venetian theater for a five-show engagement, from January 28 to February 28. 5, with Heart’s Nancy Wilson as opening act.

If the band hadn’t recruited Scottish/Canadian musician Lawrence Gowan in May 1999, Styx might never have passed the millennium. “In Canada, you can’t ignore Styx. It was impossible,” the classically trained keyboardist said in an interview with Las Vegas magazine. “What really impressed me was that they were the first American band to have prog-rock leanings. They were prog-rock and successful.

Gowan, a solo star in his home country, had never been able to see Styx live until 1997, when he opened a show for them in Montreal. His exuberant performing style complemented guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw’s effervescent stage presence well, and his bespoke rotary keyboard helped enhance the band’s overall staging. Gowan’s voice fits songs created by Dennis DeYoung such as “The Grand Illusion”, “Lady” and “Suite Madame Blue” like a cashmere glove.

His voice also pairs well with that of Shaw and guitarist James “JY” Young for Styx’s soaring harmonies, as found in abundance on Styx’s latest album, The crown crash. Although he spent the first act of his early career in the spotlight, Gowan is also comfortable sharing it.

“I’ve had years to think about why it worked so well, and almost effortlessly,” Gowan says. “When I first joined the band, there was never any inference or suggestion that I was trying to make an impression or emulate anything Dennis DeYoung was doing when he was in the band. He has a unique style and has made great contributions to the band, obviously, up to this point, but when I came in they said, ‘Perform these songs as honestly and as straightforwardly as possible. fat, make it something that means something to you.

Gowan cites the relatability of the lyrics as the main factor in making this possible. He was also inspired by how Ron Wood became an integral part of the Rolling Stones and Phil Collins transitioned from drums to lead singer of Genesis. “When I joined Styx, I think something of the spirit of the band survived that change, and it was acceptable enough for the band to thrive and enter another era of existence,” he says. .

This is also the era of the rotating keyboard, although Gowan had one made nine years before joining Styx. “There’s enough slack that I can spin it 12 times one way and then 24 times the other way,” says Gowan. “I took it on stage and people loved it right away.”

The Venetian, 702.414.9000

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