Foreigner Frontman Kelly Hansen’s Tour Diary: ‘The Band is on Fire’
EDITOR'S NOTE: Foreigner frontman Kelly Hansen has checked in with an exclusive update from the group's ongoing First Kiss Summer Tour, named after touring mate Kid Rock's new album. Dates, which began in June in Hartford, Ct., continue through September, with a six-night Detroit-area stand still to come:
So, as we begin this First Kiss Summer Tour, carving a serpentine swath through Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York, I am grateful. The band is on fire with energy, and there are a couple of new elements to the show – including new video content and a solo rising platform that I use at the beginning of "Juke Box Hero." I stand on a three-foot circular pad and go up 15 feet in the air in the middle of the audience to sing the start of the song!
Also, Bob (Kid Rock) and his crew are fantastic and the vibe is great, no joke. Kid and I discussed small-batch bourbons, and he promised to bring me a sample of some of his favorite stuff as we roll down the road.
The crowds, the crowds! The shows have been nothing less than sensational! I knew from the first suggestion of a Kid Rock/Foreigner match up that it was an inspired pairing. I love showing up to the venue as the bus crawls past the rows and rows of people tailgating, hanging out and socializing in the parking lot early in the afternoon – rain or shine! It’s also great to see how well our audiences mesh and overlap. It’s people who share an interest in an evening full of the indescribable combination of soft, warm summer breezes, friends and music. Sweet!
After those initial shows, we had a couple of days off in the Big Apple. I always enjoy a chance to explore New York City. Whether it’s hunting for new stage gear, exploring Central Park, or visiting old favorites and never-tried eateries. In 2009, while writing with Mick Jones and Marti Frederiksen for the Can’t Slow Down CD, I discovered an Indian restaurant in Midtown called Darbar. Not posh or exclusive, it’s just a solid Indian experience with a notably good chicken tikka. So, with my bandmates Jeff Pilson and Bruce Watson, we cabbed it over. The restaurant suspected we were musicians, so after the usual “Are you in a band?” question, we filled them in on us, the tour and my sincere interest in food which I think was a good trick in getting great service! Besides the tikka, the saag was rich and complex, and the tandoor veggies were excellent.
With food coma setting in, I passed out minutes after arriving back at the hotel. The next night I had a chance to check out a hip joint called Stanton Social that’s made famous by its celebrity chef/partner Chris Santos. I had a chance to get to know Chris a little during my participation in a well-known cooking show. (I’ll tell you about that later.) It’s a great place that’s set up to share plates and take in a variety of flavors. Chris really took care of us, and we let the staff choose our bites. There was no holding back on the flavors – or the decadence: Tuna, pork, pastrami, dumplings, pierogies, bolognese. I was stuffed! Then came the unbelievable desserts, food coma No. 2!
Time to head back to the tour!
Follow Foreigner's Kelly Hansen on Instagram at instagram.com/kellyhansenrocks and via Twitter: @TheKellyHansen. Get Foreigner updates on Facebook at facebook.com/Foreigner and on Twitter: @ForeignerMusic.
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