Styx gather to discuss what it feels like to play The Mission live.
Text & photos by Mike Mettler, resident Styxologist
How good was it to hear Styx’s 16th studio album The Mission performed live in its entirety on four separate occasions in 2019? Well, who better to tell us how it felt than the men who played it themselves?
To that end, and exclusively for Styxworld, all six Styx Mission performers gathered together in the green room at NYCB Theatre in Westbury, Long Island, New York on November 16 at 8:56 p.m., just 2 minutes after completing their fourth and final full-album Mission set of 2019 to share their thoughts about this momentous night, right before they returned to the stage to perform their second, hits-laden set of the evening.
The photo at the top of this column shows the collective Mission Q&A lineup — which, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time all six of these particular Styx men have been interviewed at exactly the same time in one room (and all standing up, no less). From left to right, we have keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan, co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young, drummer/vocalist Todd Sucherman, bassist/vocalist Ricky Phillips, guitarist/vocalist Will Evankovich (the man who produced The Mission), and guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw. (Though he performed at the earlier Mission shows, co-founding bassist Chuck Panozzo didn’t participate in the final Westbury show due to logistical reasons — but, rest assured, he will be back on the road with the lads soon enough.)
Gowan noted, “To see an audience react to new music from a band with this legacy and this history and to see them be enthusiastic about new pieces is really invigorating for us, creatively speaking, and just life-affirming, so we love it.”
When it comes to reproducing the complexity of The Mission music live, Phillips said, “There are so many intricate lines that have to be precise — and they have to be articulated so that you can hear them because, otherwise, it’s a blur.”
Concluded Shaw, “The audience probably thought they would never hear or see something like this from us again. It’s a great tribute to them, and to all of these guys (looks at whole band) that that’s happening here tonight. We all just experienced that — and it was awesome!”
This is merely just a taste of what we all discussed about The Mission live in the NYCB green room on Saturday night. If you’d like to read the entire interview, become a member of the Styx Lounge here, and then you can check out the full story in the members-only section known as Styxology. And if you’d like to purchase a t-shirt with the exclusive Mission live logo seen below, keeping checking the Store, where it will go onsale soon. Happy Missioning, y’all!!