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August 21, 2014

Foreigner is ready to rock DuQuoin State Fair

Tom Gimble, Foreigner's rhythm guitarist and saxaphone player, couldn't be more excited about the band and its show Saturday opening up the grandstand for the 92nd annual Du Quoin State Fair.

"First of all, it's a Saturday night, and what better night can you have for a rock concert?" Gimble said during a phone conversation Tuesday. "We have been hitting it hard this summer, and the shows just keep getting better and better."

Foreigner's other members are co-founder Mick Jones, lead singer Kelly Hansen, former Dokken member Jeff Pilson on bass, Chris Frazier on drums, Michael Bluestein on keys, and guiatarist Bruce Watson.

"The lineup of this band is, in my opinion, about the tightest that we can get," Gimble said. "Kelly is one of the most energetic singers and performers that I have ever seen, not to mention his vocal abilities. He is all over the stage, and there's nothing that can keep him from getting out in the audience and making them a part of the show."

Gimble also said that being part of a band that has so many hits makes it very exciting to go out and play.

"We have a job to do to go out there and play the songs that the people really want to hear," Gimble said, "and we have to play them the way they want to hear them, because that's why they buy a ticket to our show. That being said, we try to mix up the set list as much as we can, and sometimes we take a few liberties with solos and such, but the music that this band is known for is so engraved in people's minds that we really can't change it up much."

Gimble said lead singer Kelly Hansen carries the show to even higher levels than most people expect.

"Singing Foreigner songs isn't an easy job to do, let's face it," Gimble said. "Kelly does a great job of pulling it off night after night, and if you haven't seen the band since Kelly has been singing, you are going to be pleased for sure. Of course, the iconic sound of Lou Gramm's voice before is the original sound of Foreigner, but I can promise you that Kelly is a top-notch vocalist, and can hold a candle to anyone."

Gimble also said working alongside Mick Jones is an experience all it's own.

"Well, Mick, yes, he's in charge," Gimble said with a laugh. "He's a perfectionist, because he wants everything to be right. You can do a new little riff or rhythm addition to a song here and there, and depending on the look you get, you know if you did right or wrong, believe me. That's because it's his music, and he feels responsible for giving the fans what they came to hear, and that's Foreigner's hits. It's not something that he or any of us toy around with."

Gimble said there will be some new Foreigner music in the future, but he isn't sur what it will be.

"I know that there will be something," Gimble said. "Whether it will be a full album, or a song on a soundtrack, that's up for grabs. Songwriters write songs, that's what they do. So there's always new material coming from somewhere, it's just what Mick and the band decides to do with it."

When told about the setup of the stage at Du Quoin, and that the front row is only 4 feet from the stage's edge, Gimble said it will be a perfect venue for the band to play.

"We love the fair and festival shows, because after all, everybody's at the fair and having a good time," Gimble said. "If the audience is that close to us, it will make for a great evening, because we really love to connect with the audience, and make them a part of the show. We like to see them standing up and rocking out, and we like to drink them in and get involved. The best feeling we get is when we hear someone say, 'I knew every one of their songs they played.' That's the goal for us to come together and have a great time. Being up close with the audience only enhances that experience for us, and hopefully for them."

Who: Foreigner

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Du Quoin State Fair

Tickets $30-$40


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