ROANOKE, Va. – An iconic classic rock band is in the Star City. Styx is kicking off Festival in the Park's opening night action this year. The band's performance will double as the opening show of the Berglund Center's Bud Light up the night series.
10 News had a phone conversation with lead singer Lawrence Gowan about what fans can expect and this month's milestone for Gowan, his 20th year with the band.
“I am in a very lucky position let's face it, to be in a band of such a legendary status as Styx, but to be having this much fun and to be around a bunch of guys who want to push the limits of what the band can do,” Gowan said.
Gowan said they will be arriving via their tour bus sometime in the early hours Friday morning. Styx has played in Roanoke multiple times during their multi-decade career, but this is the first time local fans will hear the song “Mr. Roboto” played live.
After a 35-year-hiatus, sometime in 2018, Styx decided to bring the famous, or infamous song, depending on the fan you talk to, back to the band's live set. Gowan said the band had never performed the song live, although the band’s former singer, Dennis DeYoung, had sung it live over track during Styx’s abandoned tour in 1983.
Despite its popularity and iconic fan recognition, "Mr. Roboto" had allegedly been avoided because the fallout from the Kilroy era led to the collapse of the band.
Gowan did confirm, however, after long talks with the band, “Mr. Roboto” is back in action.
"Yes. Yes, indeed. He's been dusted off, well rested and well oiled; he's working great,” Gowan said. Styx now performs the classic with a modern sound. "It was great to learn that piece of music as a band, you know and add more guitars to it and live it up a little as we do with all the songs from that era. It put big smiles on our faces after we spent a couple days hacking through it, and it's been going over phenomenally well. And why not? That song has survived decades.”
Styx performs Friday night at Elmwood Park at 7 p.m.
Advance ticket prices are $37. Tickets at the gate are $42. Click here to buy tickets.