Arch Allies (2000)


Disc One 1.Blue Collar Man 2.The Grand Illusion 3.Fooling Yourself 4.Lady 5.Brave New World 6.Edge Of The Century 7.Heavy Water 8.Too Much Time On My Hands 9.Renegade 10.Blue Collar Man 11.Roll With The Changes Disc Two 1.Don't Let Him Go 2.Music Man 3.Take It On The Run 4.Can't Fight This Feeling 5.Time For Me To Fly 6.Back On The Road Again 7.Keep On Loving You 8.Roll With The Changes 9.Riding The Storm Out 10.157 Riverside Avenue 11.Blue Collar Man 12.Roll With The Changes

 

The next Styx release was a compact disc, a DVD and a lawsuit. Immediate Background: After the release of Brave New World an announcement is made that Dennis DeYoung will not be touring "due to illness". The band decides to tour without him stating that Dennis has the band's blessing and he may rejoin them at any time. Apparently neither was the case. Enter Lawrence Gowen, a solo artist of the Canadian Background who is relatively unknown elsewhere to handle vocals and keyboards to replace the founder of the band. If this wasn't enough, Bassist Chuck Panozzo announces that he is retiring from the band (it was later disclosed he had the HIV virus). In Chuck's shoes, former guitarist Glen Burtnik (who replaced Shaw on Edge of the Century ) will now fill. Without the prominent DeYoung in the lineup, the band is now relegated to newcomer Gowen handling the older DeYoung tunes. The debate is still lingering today. Even though Gowen is an excellent singer and played the keys as good or maybe better than DeYoung, the fact remained - he wasn't DeYoung. This is painfully apparent on such tracks as The Grand Illusion and Lady.

Then we must ask ourselves: was this release necessary? Didn't the band just release an exhaustive live compilation only two years ago? Once we determine this, we're tempted to ask: why bother? It must be stated, however, that the band did have a reputation at this point of putting on an outstanding live performance. Even though they were playing venues less than 1/3 the size when DeYoung was in camp and were now performing in places like Deluth, Iowa and Denham Springs, Louisiana, the band seemed to be having fun. At this point in their careers when they had accomplished everything else, shouldn't that be the point? The tour that they embarked would continue for the next three years - virtually non stop. DeYoung did bring about a lawsuit against the other members of the band which supposedly caused the recording studio's doors to be locked for the time being. It was a great show all right, but you didn't get get the Styx you grew up with and loved.

Since the band toured at this point with one of their 80's monster hit counterparts REO Speedwagon, the other disc in the set is devoted to their material. A package deal. However, any REO fan could equally argue that this collection was unnecessary as well since the Speedwagon already had a few live releases under their belt as well. What was also odd was that this doulbe cd included the exact same jam session between both bands on both of the discs. If it was possible for the fan to become more frustrated (and it was), the band elected songs for their jam session that they had already included earlier in the track selection. So not only do we get a live release of "Blue Collar Man" that we just heard on 1997's Return To Paradise , but we get it three times. Ugh. It would have made more sense if Styx could have dug out an old show from the vaults from the 1970's and release that instead.



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