Kelly Hansen

Foreigners Flock to Thunder Valley Casino


Foreigner – Click for more images

Foreigner, everyone’s “Juke Box Hero,” performed to a sold-out crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday night.

But was it really Foreigner, or just another cover band?

Foreigner was originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musicians Mick Jones and Ian McDonald, along with American vocalist Lou Gramm. In 1980 McDonald left the band, leaving Jones and Gramm as the only original members. 1990 saw the departure of Gramm, only to rejoin the group a couple of years later.

With Gramm’s on-again, off-again relationship, coupled with health issues, a joint decision was made and Gramm made his final departure. This paved the way for their current lead singer, Kelly Hansen, who joined the group in 2004.

With Gramm’s sound and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler looks, Hansen has breathed new life into Foreigner, especially with the likes of Jeff Pilson (bass), Mark Schulman (plays some killer drums), Bruce Watson (lead guitar), Ollie Marland (keyboards), and Tom Gimbel (keyboards, guitar, sax).

Jeff Pilson, Bruce Watson, and Tom Gimbel

Jeff Pilson, Bruce Watson, and Tom Gimbel

Hold up! What happened to the only founding member Mick Jones? Jones has been having health issues and rarely plays with the band, although he has been known to show up to a show or two. Watson was brought on board to fill in for Jones.

With no original band members, can this really be Foreigner, or is it simply a well put together cover band?

If you ask any of the 4,500 plus fans in attendance at Friday’s concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, you will get a resounding answer ““ “This is Foreigner!”

As soon as the band struck the first few notes of “Double Vision,” the crowd was on their feet, as Hansen ran onstage. Following up with “Head Games,” Hansen continued his high energy performance as Watson and Pilson joined in, jamming with one another as well as Hansen.

Roseville Area High School Choir

Roseville Area High School Choir – Click for more images

As they started “Cold as Ice,” the crowd brought it up a notch as did Hansen. The 51 year old Hansen, who has been known to climb stage scaffolding, rocketed off the stage, jumped the pit wall, and headed out into a sea of waiting foreigners. Most of the fans he passed had their hand up to give him a high-five, while others scrambled for their cameras.

Towards the end of the show and halfway through “I Want to Know What Love Is,” some members of the Roseville Area High School Choir came out on stage singing the chorus, as Hansen mingled with the choir and then headed back out into the crowd.

Ryan Spencer

Ryan Spencer – WINNER!!


During the show fans could purchase Foreigner’s new CD, or DVD, Rockin at the Ryman from the Roseville choir, in addition to their purchase each fan received a ticket for a chance to win an autographed guitar signed by all the band members. Ryan Spencer who is a huge Foreigner fan, as well as a 96.9 The Eagle fan, ended up with the guitar.

This has been a good year thus far for Foreigner, at least in the movies, with several of their hits appearing in “Rock of Ages,” as well as the recently released “Magic Mike.”

Coming to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater next week is Steve Miller on Friday and Earth Wind and Fire on Saturday.
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