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Foreigner brings greatest hits tour to Hard Rock
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Foreigner brings greatest hits tour to Hard Rock

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Foreigner will bring its greatest hits tour to the Hard Rock’s Etess Arena on Saturday.

Foreigner Lead Singer Kelly Hansen could probably say he now has a true understanding of the cautionary saying “Be careful what you wish for …”

By the time 2020 rolled around, he began to think he would really benefit from taking a break from the nearly nonstop routine of touring that had been a way of life in Foreigner since he joined the group in 2005.

That wish more than came true when the pandemic hit, and he and his Foreigner bandmates were forced to take time off for 18 months.

“I have not had this kind of time off in 15 years,” Hansen says. “And especially the first few months were really great, and it was enjoyable, and it allowed me to rest my voice in a way that I hadn’t been able to do for quite a long time. I got married at the end of last year. So yeah, that was something I was able to do. But then as time rolled on, I realized I had never been able to watch four seasons happen in real time in my own house. So that was interesting. And I was able to get a lot of stuff done and do a lot of things. I’m in a fortunate position so I wasn’t affected really too much in a negative way. In fact, I had kind of in the back of my mind been saying to myself, ‘I wonder if there’s a possibility that I could kind of take six months off,’ or something and take a break because we had been hitting it eight, nine months a year for 15 years in a row.”

Now Hansen and the rest of Foreigner are back on tour and doing it in a big way. The group — founder and guitarist Mick Jones, bassist/keyboardist Jeff Pilson, keyboardist Michael Bluestein, guitarist Bruce Watson, drummer Chris Frazier and guitarist/bassist Luis Maldonado — has 121 shows booked overall, with the band hitting 71 cities in the United States this year.

“Part of it is we realized we kind of had to make up lost ground a little bit, so we knew we would have to work a little bit harder this year and next year, for sure, and kind of make up that lost time (of touring),” Hansen says. “Like we were going to Europe this year. So now we’re going to go next year, but we have obligations here (in the states), too. So it means you just have to do more.”

The group’s stop in Atlantic City will be hit-filled with many of the songs that made the early lineup of Foreigner one of the world’s biggest bands from the late 1970s into the mid-‘80s.

Over the course of six albums, from the 1977 self-titled album through 1987’s “Inside Information,” Foreigner notched 15 Top 20 singles, the high point coming with the multi-chart-topping epic ballad “I Want To Know What Love Is” in 1984. Earlier rocking hits like “Feels Like The First Time,” “Hot Blooded,” “Double Vision” and “Urgent” established Foreigner’s credentials as a band with talent for writing catchy mainstream rock.

But then Jones and singer Lou Gramm had a falling out, with Gramm exiting the band in 1990. And even though Gramm rejoined Foreigner in 1992 and was fully involved in the 1994 album “Mr. Moonlight,” any return to a permanent reunion was sidetracked when Gramm needed surgery to remove a brain tumor in 1997. He recovered and was able to resume touring in 1998, but tensions gradually returned and the Jones/Gramm partnership ended in 2003.

For a time, Jones wasn’t sure whether he would restart Foreigner, but by 2004 he was looking to assemble a new lineup with a new singer. Enter Hansen, who from the mid 1980s into the ’90s fronted the hard rock band Hurricane, which enjoyed a measure of success with three studio albums, including one that spawned the Top 35 single “I’m On To You.”

Hansen knew it would take a lot of work — and especially a lot of touring — to rebuild the Foreigner brand. But he feels this edition of the band has won the support of fans and is very much seen as having earned the right to be called Foreigner and add to the original lineup’s legacy.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last 15 years. We’ve worked hard. We’ve really tried to deliver a high-energy, high-quality show,” he says. “I do my very best to represent these songs faithfully every night, and it’s not easy. They’re challenging and difficult. But what I think has happened is people recognize that, and they see that, and they enjoy the show, hopefully.”


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