Foreigner – Live @ Claudelands Arena, Hamilton

Foreigner – Live @ Claudelands Arena, Hamilton

Last night I had the honour of attending the one and only New Zealand show by Foreigner on their Orchestral Tour at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton.  One of the world’s most popular rock acts, and a personal favourite of my own, brought an 18 piece orchestra that combined with the bands multi-platinum hits totally rocked Hamilton.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY BRAD HOLLAND

Kicking the night off in style, Foreigner started with Blue Morning, Blue Day and followed up by Cold As Ice. Now I have always thought any live show should bring out goosebumps but the people on stage last night took that to an all new level.  Already the first 3 or 4 rows were standing and dancing and very obviously having the time of their lives!

The stage is jam-packed with the orchestra including a monstrous wooden drum centre stage that I was eager to see be played. Bringing one of the most popular hits next, Waiting For a Girl Like You, slowed down the beat a bit & had the crowd eager to join in.

“It took a lot of work from a lot of people to be here tonight”

And if I could, I would personally thank every person involved in bringing such iconic musicians to our shores and allow me the chance for a once in a lifetime show. Once I heard Foreigner was coming to New Zealand, I had to be a part of it as growing up with this genre of music has aided in my love for rock music.

That Was Yesterday was followed up with an acoustic Say You Will and The Flame Still Burns. With such a vast back catalogue to pull from, it was certain that the night could go on into the early hours.

“Not as easy as you think to find a way to make the composition better, to make it even more epic”

It is clear that with 40 years of collaboration under their belts, performances like last night still give Foreigner the same exhilarating high as ever. With a short orchestral interlude, Double Vision is delivered with such power you would be forgiven for thinking you were back in the height of the 70’s.  Sure, faces may have changed, but those vocals will be hard for anyone to beat.

Stepping back in time to their first song, Feels Like the First Time, had even more fellow rockers on their feet and then I just had to get into the thick of it, joining the mosh pit up the front. With everyone on stage being introduced the crowd obliged with appropriate applause for each member.

Bringing a slow rock number, Fool for You Anyway, had a brass group come forward comprising of trombones which blew my mind. The lighting was well executed and perfectly in time with the music throughout the items as well as the interludes.

A different tempo brought us to Dirty White Boy before heading into Urgent. The orchestra was perfectly balanced with the band itself, still allowing for full vocal recognition including one hell of a solo by the double bassist on a carbon fibre double bass. This was most definitely the highlight of my evening. With so much to look at on stage, it was hard to know where to focus at times.

Juke Box Hero had an epic orchestral segment to introduce the song. The crowd was on their feet and clapping along. This part of the evening highlighted the string section with the cello having a solo and lights of every colour under the rainbow lighting up the crowd and arena.  This rounded out the set for the main part of the show and what a way to do it, finishing with this hit stretching well past 7 minutes.

No one could get enough of the music, memories or atmosphere last night. We were all asked to hug someone next to us & share the love.  Love was clearly in the room as the stage filled with 30 odd choir members to add yet another layer to what was already an extraordinary set up and fill the arena with, I Want To Know What Love Is. With not a single person not offering up their own voice to add to the emotion of this ballad.  This has always been a great song and was clear of the sentiment felt by all in attendance.

Bringing the night to a sad end, Hot Blooded had the orchestra clear out and leave us with just Foreigner on stage. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to the evening or a better jam to help me with the drive home. Truly a band to be seen if you get the chance. Rock music is in my blood and I just cannot thank Foreigner enough for setting such a precedence and delivering such an amazing show to Hamilton.

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