by Mike Mettler
photo by Jason Powell
Styx put on a great performance at SiriusXM Radio HQ in Midtown Manhattan on May 15, 2017 for an upcoming episode of Artist Confidential that's set to air between June 16-28 on the satellite radio service's Classic Rewind channel. (Keep an eye out here on Styxworld and the official Styx Facebook page for any potential updates re the air dates.)
The hour-long performance and Q&A was hosted by the one and only Alan Hunter, one of the original MTV VJs. Hunter made a point of noting at the outset of the session, which commenced at 1 p.m. ET, that he and guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw both grew up in Alabama, and he later observed that Styx had the ninth video ever played on MTV when the music channel debuted on August 1, 1981: the live performance clip of "Rockin' the Paradise."
Styx performed a total of seven songs and answered Qs from Hunter about the content and substance of The Mission, the band's upcoming 16th studio album that's being released on June 16 via Alpha Dog 2T/UMe (and can still be preordered right here). Styx played inside what's known as "The Fishbowl" to an intimate audience of about 60 enthusiastic SiriusXM subscribers (including yours truly) and their guests, all seated on a tight-quartered tier of metal bleachers facing the band. Tommy later observed that it may have been the closest they've been to an audience in quite some time, albeit literally separated by a layer of glass.
Even so, the band was clearly energized by the immediate and quite energetic audience response. "It felt great," Tommy said later that afternoon. "I loved it!!"
Yesterday marked the first official live performance of a key track from The Mission, "Radio Silence," which was absolutely stunning, to say the least. Tommy also played a few riffs from and sang some of the lyrics to "Mission to Mars" while answering one of Hunter's Qs about the new album. We won't give away all of the songs the band played in The Fishbowl, but it must also be said original bassist Chuck Panozzo totally nailed his signature bass-riff break during "Fooling Yourself."
As is often the case whenever a band performs in The Fishbowl at SiriusXM, a cavalcade of familiar names and faces will pass by and observe the proceedings, and yesterday was no exception. Among the cognoscenti were Sandra Bernhard, Eddie Trunk, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil (who stopped dead in his tracks to listen to "Radio Silence" with a clear grin on his face), Gary Dell'Abate of The Howard Stern Show, and Hoda Kotb of The Today Show, who briefly joined the audience in the stands and literally sang along to every word of "Too Much Time on My Hands" (verses included!).
We're now only a month away from the release of The Mission, and Styx's upcoming episode of Artist Confidential will be a nice companion to the album, without a doubt. Well done, lads!