STYX – 20th Century Masters: The DVD Collection (2004 Universal)
These 20th Century Masters DVDs were a fun way to pick up key music videos from major bands at a cheap price. Today this role is largely filled by sites such as YouTube. The Styx edition features six of their cheesy best, and Styx did indeed make some cheesy music videos back in the day. There are no frills and no extras, just the vids, so let’s have a look.
Tommy Shaw’s “Blue Collar Man” is a rock staple with cool lyrics. This is a live version, and because of the big KILROY backdrop, I’m assuming this is from the Styx Caught in the Act DVD. I love the 80’s clothes although the haircuts haven’t changed as much as you’d think. The best part of this video is watching the late John Panozzo flailing away on drums, a sight that Styx fans certainly miss.
Thankfully, “Come Sail Away” is not live: it is the cheesy original. A bearded Dennis DeYoung croons and tinkles, hair highlighted by the spotlights. John Panozzo’s afro can be seen bobbing over the drum kit, before Shaw and James Young kick in with the chords. The band dressed in white appear to glow on stage, and it’s a gloriously terrible music video. Things like this have kitsch value to me. “Too Much Time On My Hands” is also the original, and this is just indescribably bad, so I’ll just present you these still photos to show you what I mean. It’s pretty hilarious. Fortunately it’s a good song!
“The Best of Times” is among my favourite Styx songs, in fact I had it played at my wedding reception. Judging by Dennis’ sparkly vest, it’s from the same video shoot as “Too Much Time On My Hands”. It has some of the same camp value, but without the embarrassing “acting” scenes. But damn, isn’t this a great song? Shaw’s “Boat On a River” is also excellent. Tommy plays mandolin, while bassist Chuck Panozzo weilds a big stand-up double bass. DeYoung’s on accordion, mustachioed instead of bearded. The folksy tune has always struck me as very Queen-like.
Finally, “Mr. Roboto” closes the DVD, as it must. Taking scenes from Styx’s short Kilroy Was Here film, it depicts Jonathan Chance (Tommy Shaw) searching for imprisoned rock star Kilroy (Dennis DeYoung). Kilroy is seen attacking a “Roboto” prison guard and thereafter making his escape wearing the mask of the robot. It’s a nifty little sci-fi music video, something I’m a huge sucker for. “Mr. Roboto” is still a great memorable song with a cool little video.