REVIEW: Styx – Styxworld Live 2001

STYX – Styxworld Live 2001 (2001 Sanctuary)

There are plenty of live Styx albums, the majority with current singer Lawrence Gowan.  2001’s Styxworld is as entertaining as the title implies.  It really does represent the world of Styx:  oldies, solo hits, and obscure tracks too.  Because the Styx lineup in 2001 included guitarist/singer Glen Burtnik, there are a couple songs he wrote that Styx don’t play anymore.

Styx have had a credible career, post-Dennis DeYoung.  Adding Gowan, a solo star in Canada, was a brilliant move.   Though Gowan and DeYoung don’t sound alike, Lawrence is capable of performing Dennis’ more dramatic hits like “Come Sail Away”.   You wouldn’t want that song dropped from the set!  But Gowan also adds his own solo material:  “A Criminal Mind” (from 1985’s Strange Animal) is more than welcome.  A great song is a great song, and “A Criminal Mind” has since become a part of Styx.

Credit should be heaped for including lesser-heard classics like “Boat on a River” in the set, just as good as any of the missing songs.  You’ll also hear “Rocking the Paradise”, “Miss America”, “Sing for the Day”, “Crystal Ball”, “Half-Penny, Two-Penny” and “Lorelei” (James “JY” on lead vocals).  Essentially the setlist was whittled down to songs co-written by Tommy Shaw or James Young, with “Come Sail Away” being the only solo DeYoung-written song.

You could fill a whole other album with missing songs like “The Grand Illusion” or “Renegade” but what makes Styxworld strong are the songs included in their place.  Like it or not “Love is the Ritual” was a minor hit for Burtnik-era Styx, and an effort seems to have been made to include everybody’s material.  A big hit (though not by Styx!) is “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” by Patty Smyth and Don Henley…written by Smyth and Burtnik.  It’s cool to have a Styx version though it’s shortened for the stage.  Of course there’s “Criminal Mind” by Gowan, and even the ballad “High Enough” by Tommy Shaw’s Damn Yankees.  Though it seems like a ballad-heavy set, there is plenty of rock and roll.

Check out Styxworld for a taste of this period of Styx history.  If you like Gowan, it’s a win.

4/5 stars

 

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13 comments

  1. Funny, I was just reading your Damn Yankees review. Someone on that thread said that Ron Nevison produced their second album, and that it was one of his only decent productions. It’s true that he produced it, but the reason it sounds so good is probably because Chris Lord-Alge mixed it, and that guy is really highly regarded by engineers everywhere. I mean really highly regarded, top-shelf. So Nevison had a little help on that one, someone who wouldn’t crank the treble like him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris Lord-Alge is one of the top mixers period. He’s awesome! Good call. He did some work with Steve Vai, and Vai said “He has a way of making the cymbals sound like they have air in them.”

      Like

      1. I will let u in on something…this September i’m doing a run of 5 Styx albums the ones that I have on vinyl…
        Been listening to them and got 2 finished starting a third review in a few days,,,

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I noticed you have been getting Styx lately. You’ve zoomed ahead of me! I wishlisted a bunch of stuff on Amazon last night. They have a 2 CD set of Tommy Shaw’s first 2 solo albums otherwise out of print. It’s like $15.

          Liked by 1 person

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