Styx – Return to Paradise (1997)

Return to Paradise is a live album by Styx, released in 1997. It features songs from their successful reunion tour with Tommy Shaw, but without John Panozzo, who died in July 1996. It includes three new studio tracks, including “Dear John”, which Shaw wrote as a tribute to Panozzo.
Styx was one of the all-time favorite targets of many rock critics, but the mixture of bleeding-heart ballads, catchy arena rock, and ambitious art rock appealed to millions in the late ’70s and early ’80s. After 13 years apart, the Chicago-based band’s classic lineup of vocalist/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung, vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, vocalist/guitarist James Young, and bassist Chuck Panozzo reunited for a successful greatest-hits tour in 1996. Drummer Todd Sucherman replaced John Panozzo, who died of chronic alcohol abuse that year. The highly enjoyable, 17-song concert Return to Paradise was recorded (and filmed) on the final date of the 1996 tour — on the autumnal equinox — in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Rosemont Horizon. The quintet seems to be having a blast. The tour’s theme and stage setup was based on 1981’s Paradise Theater (number one). As such, the boisterous “Rockin’ the Paradise” is an appropriate opener. “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” maintains the full-tilt pace. A frantic jam ends “Too Much Time on My Hands.” Before Young starts the dramatic “Snowblind,” he reminds the fans that it was accused of containing satanic backward messages, lists the devil’s many aliases, and says, “None of those bad guys had a damn thing to do with this next song.” DeYoung dedicates “Show Me the Way” to John Panozzo; a photo of the late drummer is projected on the stage backdrop and the fans ignite a sea of lighters and candles. A blistering version of “Come Sail Away” ends the regular set; the encores are “Renegade” and “The Best of Times.” (Although “Mr. Roboto” was regarded as a cheesy sci-fi embarrassment by many, its omission is disappointing.)

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. “On My Way” [*]  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:02
  2. Paradise[*]  (Dennis DeYoung) – 4:29
  3. “A.D. 1928/Rockin’ the Paradise”  (Dennis DeYoung, James Young, Tommy Shaw) – 5:23
  4. Blue Collar Man  (Tommy Shaw) – 4:34
  5. Lady”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 3:28
  6. Too Much Time on My Hands”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:43
  7. Snowblind”  (James Young, Dennis DeYoung) – 5:26
  8. Suite Madame Blue”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 8:31
  9. Crystal Ball”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:56

Disc 2

  1. The Grand Illusion”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 6:50
  2. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”  (Tommy Shaw) – 5:54
  3. Show Me the Way (Dennis DeYoung) – 5:11
  4. Boat on the River”  (Tommy Shaw) – 3:16
  5. Lorelei”  (Dennis DeYoung, James Young) – 4:03
  6. Babe”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 4:50
  7. “Miss America”  (James Young) – 6:15
  8. Come Sail Away”  (Dennis DeYoung) – 8:33
  9. Renegade (Tommy Shaw) – 6:01
  10. The Best of Times/A.D. 1958″  (Dennis DeYoung) – 7:42
  11. “Dear John” [*]  (Tommy Shaw) – 3:03

* Newly recorded studio tracks

Personnel

Production

  • Producer: Dennis DeYoung
  • Engineer: Timothy R. Powell
  • Mixing: Dennis DeYoung, Gary Loizzo
  • Art direction: Ioannis, Linda Loiewski
  • Design: Ioannis
  • Illustrations: Ioannis
  • Digital painting: Ioannis
  • Photography: Mark Weiss

Notes
Released: May 6, 1997
Recorded: September 21,1996, Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Genre: Rock
Length: 1:50:10

Label – CMC International

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