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"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts


By Spotlight Central, Photos by Love Imagery

originally published: 02/21/2024

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Inside Red Bank, NJ’s Count Basie Center for the Arts’ Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre this Friday, February 9, 2024 evening, hot blooded Foreigner fans anxiously await a concert by the group’s original lead singer, Lou Gramm, and his band, The Lou Gramm All Stars.

DJ Al Magliano takes the stage to introduce a short video retrospective of Gramm and his career. At the conclusion, All Stars musicians Alex Garcia on guitar, Tony Franklin on bass, Jeff Jacobs on keyboards, Ben Gramm on drums, and guitarist/saxophonist Scott Gilmam take the stage as Gramm enters and the crowd reacts by cheering and shouting, “Lou!”

Deftly accompanied by the All Stars band, Gramm’s voice fills the theater on Foreigner’s 1977 debut single, “Feels Like the First Time.”

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Audience members sing along on the song’s “Feels like the first time/Feels like the very first time” refrain while clapping their hands over their heads. Colored lights dance to a wailing Alex Garcia guitar solo prior to Gramm belting out the song’s conclusion to enthusiastic cheers, whistles, and a steady drone of “Lou!”

“Thank you, Red Bank, how are you doing?” inquires Gramm, 73, as he greets the crowd.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts



 
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Asserting, “It’s a good night for a rock and roll party!” Gramm explains, “We’re going to do things from different parts of my career tonight. This next song is called ‘Double Vision.’”

Launching into the title tune he wrote for Foreigner’s 1978 album, Double Vision, Gramm cries, “Fill my eyes with that double vision/No disguise for that double vision.” The audience moves to the rhythm of this infectious pop tune which features tight three-part vocal harmonies and colored lights emanating through a purple fog.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Revealing, “This is the first song Mick Jones and I ever wrote together,” Gramm recalls, “I auditioned for his group, but he didn’t tell me I was in the band — he just invited me to supper and, afterwards, we started working on it. ” Here, drummer Ben Gramm kicks off the rockin’ “Long, Long Way From Home” on an arrangement which features multi-instrumentalist Scott Gilman on tenor sax.

The crowd cheers, and Gramm and Co. follow up with the driving “Just Between You and Me” — a song which has Alex Garcia shredding an electric guitar solo accompanied by Gramm and the band.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

On “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” audience members squeal with delight as Scott Gilman struts across the stage wailing on tenor while Gramm plays cowbell and Tony Franklin thumps out a rockin’ bass line.

Drummer Ben Gramm taps his sticks together to set the tempo of the 1977 Foreigner hit, “Cold as Ice.” After the band joins in, Lou holds his mic out for music lovers to sing along on the tune’s “You’re as cold as ice/You’re willing to sacrifice our love” refrain. Following an electrifying Alex Garcia guitar lead and a swirling and funky Jeff Jacobs keyboard solo, heads bop to the song’s dynamic backbeat as Lou vocally concludes the number with a flourish and the crowd roars.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

“Thank you!” says Gramm, prior to announcing, “Check this out — Ben is gonna play now!” Lou and the band exit the stage leaving Ben to perform a powerful and ricocheting drum solo. Featuring complex rhythms delivered with precision and speed, Ben’s percussive vibrations race around the room like sparks of electricity as lights flash to the beat.



 
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Concertgoers cheer, and Lou returns to the stage to reveal, “That’s my brother, Ben Gramm, on drums!” After introducing the rest of the All Stars, Lou launches into “Midnight Blue.” Music lovers clap their hands overhead to the beat of this rhythmic rocker while Lou plays tambourine and four-part background vocals support his lead on this Lou Gramm solo number.

Following “That Was Yesterday,” a power ballad which features Lou’s dynamic and emotional lead vocal, Gramm declares, “We’re gonna pick it up!” as he and the All Stars sail into the 1979 Foreigner hit, “Head Games.” Accompanied by brother Ben’s booming drums, Tony Franklin’s thumping bass, and Jeff Jacobs’ percussive keyboard, Lou gets music lovers on their feet clapping and cheering as he lifts his mic stand off the ground while delivering this power rocker.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

An ethereal Jeff Jacobs keyboard intro impels concertgoers to wave their arms from side to side over their heads as Lou and the All Stars segue into the 1981 Foreigner mega-hit, “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” Gramm gives it his all as he croons the power ballad’s “I’ve been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life” refrain, and the crowd reacts by hooting and hollering for his heartfelt performance.

Guitar and bass play the funky intro to Foreigner’s 1981 Top 10 hit, “Urgent.” Power chords ring out as Gramm sings the “You say it’s urgent/So urgent” chorus and Alex Garcia rips a fast and furious guitar solo, Gramm keeps time on the cowbell, and Scott Gilman wanders through the audience exciting concertgoers with a screaming tenor sax solo before returning to heat up the stage with Lou.

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Concertgoers react with enthusiasm as Gramm recalls, “In 1983, we were in a hotel in the Netherlands when Ahmet Ertugun called to tell us that this next song went to #1 around the world.” Here, Gramm and Co. perform the Foreigner pop masterpiece, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Sounding soulful and compelling, Gramm invites the crowd to sing along on the number’s ubiquitous “I want to know what love is/I want you to show me” chorus. At the conclusion, audience members leap to their feet to cheer, and Gramm humbly reacts by stating, “You made that song sound the way it’s supposed to,” as he and the All Stars exit the stage.

The crowd continues to chant “Lou! Lou!” in unison, and cheers multiply when he and the band return to play an encore of Foreigner’s cinematic rocker, “Jukebox Hero.”

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Gramm gives a powerful and dynamic performance as music lovers dance and clap along to this classic rock story song which boasts driving drums, a thumping bass, and wailing guitars. Audience members happily sing the memorable “He’s a juke box hero/Got stars in his eyes” refrain while simultaneously pointing in rhythm to the tune’s infectious beat.

Fans continue to cheer, and Gramm responds, “Thank you, New Jersey!” before the iconic guitar intro of another Gramm-penned Foreigner hit — 1978’s “Hot Blooded” — cries out. Gramm prompts the revved-up crowd to sing along on the power anthem’s “I’m hot blooded/I’m hot blooded” chorus before concluding the number with an extended coda and leaving audience members cheering happily on their feet.

“Thank you, Red Bank! We’d love to see you again!” exclaims Gramm, before he and the band take a well-deserved bow.

As music lovers exit the theater, several share their thoughts on tonight’s performance. Yolanda from Ocean Township declares, “I loved this show! Lou’s voice is awesome and his band is great,” prior to explaining, “I loved seeing him here at the Count Basie where the theater is small enough so that no matter where you sit you get a great view, but you still get the feeling you’re part of a huge rock concert.”

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts



 
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Steve from Jackson asserts, “It was a really good show!” recalling, “I haven’t seen Lou in a long time — I saw him perform both solo and with Foreigner back in the ’80s and ‘90s — and he can still belt it out. After all these years, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure how he was going to sound, but he came back hitting all the right notes, and his band sounded really good, too — they rock!”

Connie from Jackson acknowledges, “I had a really good time — it brought me back to my years in middle school and high school, and I had a lot of fun.” Likewise, Fouad from Jackson agrees, noting, “I thought this show was fantastic — I never expected it to be this good! Lou’s music brought back so many beautiful memories; for me, every one was just incredible.”

Romy from Jackson insists, “I enjoyed every moment of this show, and the band was incredible! Alex Garcia — oh my God!— he was amazing on guitar, and you could really feel it when Tony Franklin played his booming bass!”

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

Michael from West Windsor contends, “Tonight’s show was fantastic! Even after all these years, Lou’s voice is still tremendous, and his band is really tight, too. The sax/guitar player was amazing — he’s a real jack of all trades — and all the songs Lou and the band played brought back so many great memories.” Shari from West Windsor concurs, adding, “It was a fabulous concert!” prior to concluding, “It was entertaining, the acoustics in the theater sounded amazing, and Lou Gramm was just incredible!”

"Incredible!" Lou Gramm LIVE! at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

To learn more about Lou Gramm, please go to lougrammofficial.com. For information on upcoming concerts at The Count Basie Center for the Arts’ Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre — including Peter Frampton on March 5, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai on April 8, and Todd Rundgren on May 9 — please click on thebasie.org.

Photos by Love Imagery

Spotlight Central. Your source for Jersey entertainment news and reviews

Love Imagery Fine Art Photography. all you need. peace/love/flower/power


 

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