Dennis DeYoung: The Music of STYX

Thursday, February 25th 2016

ARTIST BIO

Dennis DeYoung is a founding member of the rock group Styx. The Chicago-based band originated in 1962 when 14 year old DeYoung and brothers John and Chuck Panozzo joined Dennis in the basement of his childhood home to form one of America’s most successful and enduring bands. Styx has sold over 35 million albums worldwide and DeYoung has written eight of their nine top ten singles. Styx was the only band to ever record four consecutive triple platinum albums.

For over five decades, DeYoung has been a singer, songwriter, keyboardist and record producer. He wrote and sang several classics including: Lady, Come Sail Away, Best of Times, Mr. Roboto, Show Me the Way, Desert Moon, Don’t Let It End, and the 1979 Peoples Choice Award winner, Babe. His singing talents have made his voice one of the most recognizable in the world. DeYoung has recorded 7 solo albums including Desert Moon, whose title track achieved Top Ten status. DeYoung continues to tour with his band around the world.

In 2014, Frontiers Music released worldwide DENNIS DEYOUNG AND THE MUSIC OF STYX LIVE IN LOS ANGELES on a deluxe 2CD/DVD/BLU-RAY combination that encompasses the Greatest Hits of Styx. This live concert was filmed at the El Rey Theatre and was also released as a concert TV special on AXS-TV.

Dennis DeYoung said of this new live CD/DVD project, “I am constantly amazed, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that the (STYX) music has touched so many people for such a long time, it really is a testament to the songs. Because, strip it all away, it is the songs that matter to people. You get the song right and the people respond.”

2010 brought the formation of a new band dedicated to the legacy of Styx which features August Zadra, Jimmy Leahey, John Blasucci, Craig Carter, Dave Anthony and Suzanne DeYoung. To date this group has performed over 300 concerts worldwide focusing on the greatest hits of Styx. This year DeYoung was named by DigitalDreamDoor.com as the #22 greatest rock keyboardist and #38 greatest rock vocalist of all time.

In 2008, Dennis was invited to join the Germany tour of “Night of the Proms” with an array of artists including Tears for Fears, 10CC, Kim Wilde, the Bee Gee’s Robin Gibb and the 60 piece Novecento Orchestra. The tour performed in soldout arenas throughout Germany.

In 2007, DeYoung recorded his seventh solo album for DEP Universal Canada. The title track, “One Hundred Years From Now”, was released as a single and reached #1 on the Pop, Rock and AC charts in Quebec. In 2008, this CD was released in the The United States on Rounder Records and featured two additional tracks.

In 2007, the Baliwick theater in Chicago staged DeYoung’s version of the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” to the delight and enthusiasm of both audiences and critics resulting in an extended run. This production won the prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for best musical.

In 2006, DeYoung performed live on CANADIAN IDOL. DeYoung also performed live on three episodes of the Fox Network’s CELEBRITY DUETS with celebrity duet partner Hal Sparks and was selected as one of three artists along with legends Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight for the finale. DeYoung was also selected to perform live on VH1’s BIG IN 06 Awards show along with THE KILLERS, THE FRAY, FERGIE, and WEIRD AL.

In 2003, DeYoung performed and recorded an expanded version of his Rock Symphony show at the historic Chicago Theater. This CD, Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx Live with Symphony Orchestra, has been certified platinum in Canada.

In 2002, WTTW PBS Chicago taped DeYoung performing with his rock band and 50 piece symphony orchestra with The Chicago’s Children’s Choir for the pilot of the PBS’ Soundstage series. The Soundstage pledge program is currently airing nationwide on PBS stations around the country and have raised in excess of two million dollars. The Soundstage DVD, DENNIS DEYOUNG AND THE MUSIC OF STYX LIVE WITH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA has been certified triple platinum in Canada. Both the CD and DVD are available at www.dennisdeyoung.com.

In recent years DeYoung’s songs have continued to enjoy remarkable popularity. His compositions have been featured in over 30 television shows including: The Simpson’s, Freeks & Geeks, Dharma and Gregg, E.R., King of Queens, Sex in the City, Will and Grace, Las Vegas, Cold Case, That 70’s Show, Saturday Night Live and numerous others. The piece de resistance however was when Cartman sang Come Sail Away on the groundbreaking series South Park.

DeYoung’s songs have been featured in 15 major motion pictures including; Virgin Suicides, Big Daddy, Detroit Rock City, Disney’s Atlantis, and The Wild, The Karate Kid II, the Shrek II DVD, Mr. Woodcock, , Underdog and Fun With Dick and Jane etc. Four songs of DeYoung’s were used in The Perfect Man in which he also made a cameo appearance.

Volkswagen turned Mr. Roboto into a hit national commercial, featuring two Wayne’s World like guys jamming to the words “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto.” In 1999, Hippo Records released The Ultimate Collection, a compilation of select songs from DeYoung’s solo albums Desert Moon, Back to the Word and Boomchild. In 2005, Universal Music Group re-released Desert Moon on CD and a DVD of DeYoung’s videos entitled, The Best Of Dennis DeYoung, The 20th Century Masters.

DeYoung made his Broadway debut in 1993, starring as Pontius Pilate in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar’s 25th Anniversary Reunion Tour. His performance earned a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for best supporting actor in a musical. While performing in Superstar, DeYoung was approached by Atlantic Records to sing and produce 10 On Broadway, a compilation of his favorite Broadway songs.

DeYoung’s passion for American musical theater and composers like George Gershwin and Lerner and Lowe inspired him to write a musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Nashville Tennessee Repertory Theater mounted a full production of Hunchback in the fall of 1997 to glowing reviews. In 2006 DeYoung received the Just Plain Folks Music Awards for Best Theater Album, The Hunchback of Notre Dame…A Musical, and for Best Contemporary Song, Who Will Love This Child.

DeYoung is a native of Chicago. In January of 2016 DeYoung will celebrate 46 years of marriage to his high school sweetheart Suzanne. He and Suzanne have raised two children and continue to live in the Chicago area

 

Former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung brought his solo show titled ‘The Music of Styx’ to Nashville’s historic War Memorial Auditorium on Friday night (June 28). The show is billed as a Styx greatest hits show, and that’s exactly what DeYoung delivered, turning back the clock for two hours of pure Stygian magic. DeYoung entirely re-vamped his solo band a couple of years ago after seeing guitarist August Zadra online singing Styx songs in a cover band. DeYoung had deliberately avoided Styx songs sung by Tommy Shaw in his solo career, but when he heard what a ringer Zadra was, he decided to put together a show that brought together all of Styx’ most important songs on one stage. Friday night’s show was an adventurous amalgam of all of the different styles Styx ever put to tape, from heavier fare like ‘Renegade’ and ‘Blue Collar Man,’ to progressive rock like ‘The Grand Illusion,’ ‘Suite Madame Blue’ and ‘Fooling Yourself.’ Ballad hits were also well represented, with obvious tracks like ‘Lady,’ ‘Babe,’ ‘The Best of Times’ and ‘Show Me the Way’ all in the set. Perhaps the best of the lot was a re-working of the power ballad ‘Don’t Let It End’ for acoustic guitar and voice, which worked so well that it made it seem like the original record was the wrong arrangement all along. DeYoung’s band is very strong not only vocally, but instrumentally. Zadra and co-guitarist Jimmy Leahey stole the show several times, most notably during ‘Rockin’ the Paradise,’ where they departed from the script for a tradeoff guitar solo that featured Leahey on slide guitar and Zadra contributing wah-wah inflections over the track. DeYoung himself provided one of the evening’s instrumental highlights with the climactic keyboard solo in ‘Fooling Yourself,’ and at 66 his entire vocal range remains intact. He delivered all of the songs in their original keys in a vocal performance that put singers half his age to shame. Not everything about the concert was a home run. The sound started off weak and almost one-dimensional for the first two songs, with the instruments and voices all pulled too close together in the center of the mix. That caused an unpleasant, distorted overall sound at first, making it difficult to distinguish lyrics. Once that got sorted out, by the third song the band were together and sounding good, and just got better from there, earning several standing ovations during the course of the show. So, was it classic Styx? In a word, no. But on Friday night in Nashville, Dennis DeYoung and his band delivered a show that was strong enough to impress even the most skeptical Styx fan — and maybe even win over a few detractors.
Sterling Whitaker
On March 18th Dennis DeYoung brought his band to Los Angeles to record a concert for AXS-TV. The night was going to be special. All the stops were being pulled out, and tickets would only set his fans back five bucks. Yes, five bucks! Amazing. Not only was the price of admission a throwback to the good old days of rock concerts past, the musical event was being billed as Dennis DeYoung…And the Music of Styx. This time he meant all of Styx, including the songs sung by Tommy Shaw. The news that the show’s set would include tunes like “Blue Collar Man,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Foolin’ Yourself” and “Renegade” got the fans attention. What a treat it would be to see DeYoung playing his keyboard parts on these classic Styx songs again. There was only one real question remaining to be answered: Who would play the part of Mr. Shaw? While Dennis certainly has the chops to sing any damn song he wishes, if he sang those songs it wouldn’t be close enough to the original. He needed that sound and he needed that two-guitar lineup to accompany his keyboard parts. Enter August Zadra. Zadra was discovered on YouTube by DeYoung’s son a few years back. Dennis liked what he saw, and loved what he heard. The guy looks and plays like a rock star. He can hit the high notes as well. Zadra brings a fresh and exciting edge to the performance. Still, as good as he is, he is not the star of the show, as that slot still belongs to DDY. “The Grand Illusion” has maximum guitar riffage, yet it is the grand vocals of DeYoung that have, then as well as now, given that song its personality. Same can be said for “Rockin’ the Paradise” and even “Mr. Roboto.” When DeYoung adds the one-two punch of his keys and his pipes is when he is at his best. “Lorelei” has that damn musical intro, and then that voice, and then that guitar… a true masterpiece of Seventies rock and roll. “Come Sail Away” is his most beloved tune and, once again, it is the piano, the voice and then the massive guitars that send this through the roof. “Suite Madame Blue” is another example, as the song drifts into the keyboard abyss before being resurrected by electric guitars and then the chant of “America…” On this performance, all eras of Styx music comes alive, as close to the original as is physically possible in the present day. Only Tommy Shaw and James Young being in tow would make this performance more authentic. Of course, DeYoung has his softer side included in the show. “Lady,” “Babe” and “The Best of Times” all make you want to grab yer girl and slow dance with her on the gymnasium floor after the high school football game. His love songs are part of his DNA, as Dennis expresses his soft side with the same passion that he expresses his other feelings. “Show Me the Way” is another emotional moment, as the song is stripped down to the core and delivered with raw emotion. At the end of the day, both DeYoung and his band are energetic, vibrant and colorful. While the CD is an excellent display of talent, the visual aspects of the show and the unique stage design make the DVD or Blu-ray the chosen medium to experience this event. Hell, buy them both, you won’t be disappointed. The bottom line is that Dennis DeYoung is in fine voice, a natural born showman and has a strong desire, even after all that has happened, to share his music with us. One can tell he wants to be where he is and doing what he is doing. He may not be in the band Styx anymore, but rest assured, he is the band Styx. Put this one on the ‘must own’ list.
Jeb Wright
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The concept of the guilty pleasure is silly. There should be no shame in admitting you enjoy something that others find corny. This comes up, of course, in the wake of seeing a Styx concert. The Chicago classic-rockers, who played to a sold-out Frederik Meijer Gardens Thursday night, have the distinction of being one of the goofiest bands ever, a heavyish guitar-pop act, like Journey or Boston, elevated by grandiose prog-rock ambitions. With Styx, you expect the intros to have intros, the frills to have pomp, the drum kit to have its own zip code, the bells and whistles to be subbed out for a keyboard sound that's part harpsichord, part carnival organ. On paper, it's annoying, but in execution, it's so ridiculous, it works. I use the word "distinction" with careful intention, for Styx is nothing if not distinct. It's commendable how the band found the sweet spot between fist-pumping hard rock and Broadway schmaltz, and continues to maintain its enthusiastic live performances for so long. It's not novel, it's credible. It's original. Nobody sounds like Styx, probably because nobody is stupid enough to even try. They're also distinct in being able to keep a normally laid-back Gardens audience on its feet and out of its cozy lawn chairs for an hour and 45 minutes. You can't sit there and picnic on fancy cheese when you're watching Styx, because all the fancy cheese is on stage. REVIEW: 3 OUT OF 4 STARS What: Styx When and where: Aug. 13, 2015, Frederik Meijer Gardens Highlight: "Come Sail Away" may have been the band's flashiest moment, but "Man in the Wilderness" had more heart, big melodic crescendos and a sizzling guitar solo by Tommy Shaw. Length: 115 minutes Attendance: 1,900 (sold out) The band – guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw, founding guitarist James Young, keyboardist/singer Lawrence Gowan, drummer Todd Sucherman and bassist Ricky Phillips – established its tonal diversity right away, opening with the highfalutin strut of "The Grand Illusion," and immediately following it with everyman anthem "Too Much Time on My Hands." The band was loud, clean and clear. They were musically proficient. They were vocally stellar, their signature layered harmonies intact. They were light on their feet. They were a jukebox band, delivering the hits in an entertaining fashion, unapologetically. Shaw gets the majority of the spotlight, sharing frontman duties with Gowan (who replaced exiting founder Dennis DeYoung in 1999; the band tends to avoid adding some DeYoung songs to the live set, thus no "Mr. Roboto" or "Babe"). The former is sincere, and the latter, the comedian: Shaw seemed energized by his return to Michigan, telling stories about writing songs when he lived in Niles, a small town by the Indiana border. In contrast, Gowan dedicated "Lady" to a Venus flytrap he "met" earlier in the day, and joked about how Sucherman was being attacked by bees while performing, a hazard of playing a place stuffed with blooming flora. Young had an opportunity to take center stage, too, introducing "Light Up" with a shoutout to "all the wonderful medicines from all the wonderful plants, which in some states have been decriminalized" – a plant you probably won't find on the Gardens property, unless Umphrey's McGee is playing that night. Shaw got out his 100-year-old mandolin (a fact he had to point out, because it's such a Styx thing to do) to play "Boat on the River," an international hit that never caught on in the U.S. He also led the band in an extraordinary performance of "Man in the Wilderness," an introspective number during which he shared harmony leads with Young. It was an easy highlight, because it showed a relatively soulful side of Styx that exists in the shadow of magniloquent, slightly cloddish dork-tracks such as "Miss America" and "Crystal Ball." Gowan would eventually lead the crowd on sing-alongs of Elton John's "Rocket Man," the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," before finally launching into "Come Sail Away," the heaving goliath of a power ballad we hate to love, but probably should just admit we love. During the number, Gowan stomped about the stage in a top hat, posing and gesticulating like William Shatner mangling "Macbeth," his tongue firmly in cheek. A two-song encore featured "Rockin' the Paradise" and the band's darkest, and best, song, "Renegade"; it felt anticlimactic, especially because the latter was sloppy in execution. It was an uncharacteristic moment for the typically well-oiled Styx machine. The Gardens concert was a one-off from this summer's Def Leppard tour, where Styx is the opening act, a position I wouldn't want to be in if I were Def Leppard. Styx is a hard act to follow, and there's no shame in pointing that out.
John Serba
The average American’s vocabulary of Japanese is probably limited to the word “sushi.” But the average American classic rock fan also knows at least one Japanese phrase, “domo arigato,” thanks to the teachings of former Styx lead singer and keyboard player, Dennis DeYoung. On Saturday night, May 10, 2014, a near sell-out crowd constantly told Dennis DeYoung and his band, “thank you very much” during DeYoung’s one hour and fifty minute show at the Wild Horse Pass Casino Ovations LIVE! Showroom in Chandler. The thank yous were well deserved. The performance was billed as “Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx.” Rather than limit his set list to just the Styx songs DeYoung wrote, which included six Billboard Top Ten singles, DeYoung also included five songs written by Styx guitarist, Tommy Shaw. If you say you’re going to perform “the music of Styx” and you include three songs off of Styx’s triple-platinum selling album, “The Grand Illusion" (1977), you better include Shaw’s “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” in addition to DeYoung’s “The Grand Illusion” and “Come Sail Away.” DeYoung did not disappoint. Given that Styx played in Scottsdale just less than four months ago, it’s inevitable to compare the two performances. Yes, there is a difference but it really comes down to song selection. Both performers can rock and both performers can play the ballads. The pace of DeYoung’s concert may be slower at times but you can blame that on his wife, Suzanne, who sings backup in DeYoung’s band. If not for her inspiration, DeYoung never would have written “Lady” and “Babe,” both songs which are must hear from the Styx catalog. Keyboardist John Blasucci started out the evening, playing the synthesized notes to “The Message,” as the other band members, guitarists August Zadra and Jimmy Leahey, drummer Tom Sharpe and bass player Craig Carter took the stage. Then Blasucci hit the familiar chords that introduce “The Grand Illusion,” and the man and voice so familiar to Styx fans walked out, waving to those in attendance and nailing the opening vocals with his spine tingling rendition. From his stage demeanor and musical interpretation, it was evident that DeYoung’s theatrical side would be in full force. Nothing wrong with that at all. Throughout the evening, DeYoung was such a charming and talented entertainer, you almost forgot that he is a first class song writer and keyboard player as well. But the reminder to DeYoung’s keyboard playing abilities came quick enough as he played the introduction to “Lady” on his piano. The audience was quick to vocally join in and the band rocked the second half of the song. Zadra and Leahey continued their guitar interplay for “Lorelei” and although most of the audience had sat down by now, it didn’t stop them from head bobbing in their seats. DeYoung interacted with his guitarists as well. It appeared those on stage were having as good a time as those in the audience. As he would all night for the Tommy Shaw penned Styx songs, Zadra took over the vocals for “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights).” The crowd easily embraced his effort, many back on their feet and a majority clapping along. Then began the Dennis DeYoung section of the concert (i.e. songs you won’t hear at a Styx concert). First up was “Show Me the Way,” off of Styx’s 1990 album, “Edge of the Century.” Originally written for DeYoung’s son, the song has been adopted as a tribute to all those who serve in the military. Once again DeYoung’s vocals were transcendent. Next up was the guilty pleasure that is “Mr. Roboto.” DeYoung did his robot moves, pulled out the famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, robot mask that was used in the 1983 music video and when he asked the audience what his name was, they enthusiastically shouted “Kilroy.” One couldn’t help but be reminded of the 1999 Volkswagen commercial with Tony Hale which featured the song. Domo arigato Mr. DeYoung for including the number in the evening’s work. The one nod to DeYoung’s solo career was “Desert Moon,” a song which he mentioned “was not a Styx song but should have been a Styx song.” Instead it was a top ten song for DeYoung’s solo career and still remains a showstopper. Leahey’s guitar solo drew heavy applause and once again the audience was back on their feet showing their appreciation. The pace quickened again for “Too Much Time on My Hands,” and “Rockin’ the Paradise.” The latter song featured two blazing guitar solos by both Leahey and Zadra. Instrumentally and vocally, the songs were in good hands. The cell phones were up and recording as DeYoung sang a song he wrote as a birthday present for his wife (DeYoung admitted he also gave in and bought her some jewelry as well), Styx’s only number one song, “Babe.” At the song’s end, DeYoung presented his wife with some roses in honor of Mother’s Day and stated that he “married his trophy wife first.” It would be difficult to pick just one highlight from the evening, but certainly “Suite Madame Blue,” would be a top contender. Leahey got things started with some nice 12 string acoustic guitar work. DeYoung’s vocals were jaw dropping. The harmonies were spot on. DeYoung performed some mesmerizing keyboard work. Both Leahey and Zadra cut loose during the song’s second half with more stupendous guitar playing. The song was everyone doing the absolute best at what they did. Aptly ending the regular set was “The Best of Times/A.D. 1958.” It seemed too early for the band to say goodnight as the evening had just flown by. But there were enough “don’t let it end” thoughts from the audience to make sure DeYoung had not yet called it a night. For one who had embraced theatrics, DeYoung dispensed with the same, remaining onstage rather than going off, joking that neither the band nor the audience had to pretend that an encore was forthcoming. But the spirit of an encore ensued, with the rocking “Renegade,” and the heavily sang-a-long “Come Sail Away,” closing the show. The audience was up, the band tore it up on stage and the memories of Paradise were going to be kept alive for another evening. Dennis DeYoung may have sailed away from his former bandmates in Styx but he still carries on the music of Styx. Should you want to hear a complete catalog of Styx hits live, these days you might have to attend both a Styx concert and a Dennis DeYoung concert. But that’s not such a bad thing. After all, if you haven’t seen Dennis DeYoung in concert before, as he stated “where the hell ya been? I’m 67.”
April 23, 2013 – On Friday night, Dennis DeYoung brought The Music of Styx to Massey Hall, one of T-MAK World’s favorite concert venues in Toronto. The 66 year old DeYoung, who hails from Chicago, is a founding member from when the band was called “The Tradewinds” before they changed their name in 1972. Styx was one of the biggest Rock bands in the late 70s and early 80s with 4 consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA. Why is DeYoung bringing The Music of Styx and not the band Styx itself to Massey Hall? Like a couple other big acts of that era, Supertramp and Pink Floyd, Styx featured 2 singers. The main lead singer and song writer was DeYoung. The other was Tommy Shaw, a guitarist who joined in 1976 after guitarist John Curulewski left the band. Like Supertramp and Pink Floyd, creative differences had the main singer parting way with the rest of the band. Luckily for fans, DeYoung hasn’t parted ways with The Music of Styx. DeYoung has toured in the past with an orchestral arrangement of Styx’s music including a stop at Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre. Starting in 2010, DeYoung put together a rock band that plays songs from both DeYoung’s solo work and Styx. The band captures the mix of progressive, hard rock and power ballads with the sense of a theatrical show that Styx fans were drawn to. From the beginning one can see that DeYoung hasn’t lost a step and still has a plethora of energy. Styx first played Massey Hall in 1976 showcasing their new album “Crystal Ball”. According to Setlist.fm the set list that night started showcased songs from that album as well as a couple of their hits. Set List from 1976: 1. Put Me On 2. Lorelei 3. Shooz 4. Mademoiselle 5. Light Up 6. Suite Madame Blue 7. Crystal Ball 8. Claire de Lune 9. Lady 10. Midnight Ride 11. Guitar Solo 12. 22 Years Flash forward to 2013 and DeYoung has a large collection of top 10 hits to draw from and a large collection of hits that fans want to see performed. DeYoung didn’t disappoint as he played the big songs that fans wanted to see as opposed to some artists who play their favorite or their latest songs, completely ignoring the audience. 1. The Grand Illusion (Styx song) 2. Lady (Styx song) 3. Lorelei (Styx song) 4. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) (Styx song) 5. Show Me the Way (Styx song) 6. Mr. Roboto (Styx song) 7. Desert Moon 8. Born for Adventure (Styx song) 9. Don’t Let It End (Styx song) 9. Too Much Time on My Hands (Styx song) 10. Rockin’ the Paradise (Styx song) 11. Babe (Styx song) 12. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (Styx song) 13. Prelude 12 (Styx song) 14. Suite Madame Blue (Styx song) 15. The Best of Times (Styx song) 16. The End (The Beatles cover) Encore: 17. Renegade (Styx song) 18. Come Sail Away (Styx song) DeYoung is undoubtedly one of the best singers, keyboardist and showman touring today and builds a great rapport with the audience. After starting out with “The Grand Illusion”, a fitting song to start a show and three other hits, DeYoung was aware of the great history of the building he was in. He made reference to the 1976 Styx show after poking fun at Massey Hall by stating he had “only one complaint, that this place has no history” and “oh wait didn’t Mozart play here” which drew a chuckle from the audience. He also showed his great sense of humour by asking the audience who is seeing him for the first time. After applause he stated where have you been as he is 66 years old. DeYoung continued with more hits from Styx, more references to the original Massey Hall show, more stories and laughs about Styx. He also played one song from his solo work, Desert Moon. Before playing Desert Moon, DeYoung noted that the only Gold or Platinum Album from his solo work and it do not come his home country. That album was Desert Moon and Canada was the country. DeYoung’s current band includes August Zadra on lead guitar as well as singing Tommy Shaw’s songs, Jimmy Leahey on guitars, Tommy Sharpe on drums, Craig Carter on bass and John Blasucci on keyboards. During the introductions DeYoung also let the audience know that Styx’s biggest hit, Babe, wasn’t supposed to be a Styx song at all, but a present for a girl he met at a high school dance. DeYoung introduced that girl, his wife of 43 years, Suzanne DeYoung who is also in the band as a backup singer. The highlight of the night came at the end as the crowd gathered in the front of the stage for two encores and it went from an evening of The Music of Styx to a Rock show and even DeYoung seemed to feed off that energy. Verdict: 4 out of 5 – DeYoung delivered on The Music of Styx. As one of the audience members who was seeing DeYoung for the first time, in the same location they played in 1976, it was easy to close ones eyes and believe that you were back at the original Styx show. Kudos to Massey Hall for bringing one of the icons of melodic progressive rock away from the casinos where they often tour these days and into a suitable venue. For those who haven’t seen DeYoung ever or since the 1976 show, get out and see him next time he’s back in Toronto, hopefully as another return to Massey Hall.
Michael Litt

dennisdeyoung.com