Foreigner Brings the Greatest Hits to Sarasota’s Van Wezel

Foreigner had a busy week before arriving in Sarasota. Lead singer Kelly Hansen announced on network TV that in 2023 they will be embarking on a Farewell Tour as founder Mick Jones looks to retirement. After a great run rejuvenating the band and rocking audiences around the world for 45 years, they want to go out on a high note and give the fans one more chance to rock with Foreigner.

They brought their greatest hits to the sold-out Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the SRQ was ready! Band merch was selling briskly in the lobby before the show started. There was a raffle and auction of autographed guitars to benefit victims of Hurricane Ian in south Florida.   Opening the show was the local Riverview High School Choir, a great opportunity for the students! They sounded great and received supportive applause from the audience.


Opening with a triple blast of hits, “Double Vision,” “Cold As Ice” and “Head Games.” The audience was revved up from the first note. Kelly Hansen is an energetic frontman, who interacts with the audience and the band clearly feeds off each other’s musical energy. Jeff Pilson on bass is formally of Dokken and Dio, is currently in a leg brace due to a fall, had to rough it on a stool and still managed to be a badass! Bruce Watson is a high energy guitarist who has worked with Elton and B.B. King. He constantly works the stage while playing those iconic riffs.

In-between all those megahits, there are great keyboard and drum solos by Michael Bluestein and Chris Frazier, who put on a show within the show. The lighting and sound were perfect. Guitarist Luis Maldonaldo is the newest member and trades riffs with Watson and sings backing vocals. More of the setlist included “Urgent,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and another crowd favorite “Jukebox Hero.” The song that started it all for the band in 1977, “Feels Like the First Time” rocked the house.


A special treat was original band member keyboardist Al Greenwood and former bassist Rick Wills joining in for the second half of the show. A sing-along with Kelly calling for cell phones flashlights to the 1984 classic rock ballad, “I Want to Know What Love Is” was a goosebump moment.  Hansen took it up a notch with “Dirty White Boy” and had the crowd “off their asses.” The show closed with “Hot Blooded!”

Don’t miss Foreigner’s Farewell tour next year! “Loverboy” is the supporting act and hopefully there will be some special surprises for the band’s swan song. All info at Foreigner Online

Photos from Vicky Sullivan

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