Las Vegas is raining rock bands thanks to a run on residencies for the biggest legacy acts of the genre ranging from British metal hitmakers like Def Leppard to classic hard rockers like Journey.
Now, Foreigner takes its place in the pantheon of rock gods lighting up the Strip with 10 dates at The Venetian Theatre, inside The Venetian Resort, starting in January 2020.
Having sold more than 80 million albums with a catalog of songs that defined the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as “Double Vision,” “Juke Box Hero,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Hot Blooded,” the band’s lineup includes founding member and guitarist Mick Jones, longtime multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel, lead singer Kelly Hansen, bassist Jeff Pilson, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, guitarist Bruce Watson, and drummer Chris Frazier.
Hansen, who joined the group 15 years ago, told Billboard in an exclusive interview that they thought they were riding a wave of classic rock resurgence back then but it’s even bigger now.
“I think it has to do with the quality of the songs,” he says, referencing that the band plays around 110 shows every year and just came back from a European tour.
“If you take a look at Foreigners’ catalog, there are 16 top 30 hits, and [in planning a show like this] the problem becomes what songs do you leave out. Do you do some songs acoustically or do you give them all the classic presentation? These are all discussions that we have in creating a set list, but you’re definitely going to hear all of the big ones for sure,” Hansen says.
A band like Foreigner with 10 multi-platinum albums is residency gold, with a deep national and international fan base, most everyone over 40 has a memory sound-tracked by one of their hits.
“Normally we’ll go to a specific place [and our audience is local] and we do have fans that travel the world to see us,” Hansen says. “But [Vegas] is very much a melting pot entertainment crowd.”
Hansen, who is known for his love of cooking, also speculates he might at some point host a food event in the city that is known as much for its live music as it is for its culinary offerings.
“When we do big summer tours, part of the VIP package will be hors d’oeuvres that I designed. And sometimes I will collaborate with different chefs or if we’re playing a casino, they’ll do a dinner for high rollers, which I will curate,” he says. “I think there might be something in Vegas when we come. It’s still in the works.”
And if the stars align and the residency is a success, Hansen could see Foreigner being an ongoing part of Las Vegas’ entertainment landscape because of its status as performer-friendly.
“I don’t mind hanging out in the same place and not having to get on a bus or a jet after a show every night,” he says.
Foreigner at The Venetian Theatre in 2020:
January: 24, 25, 29, 31
April: 17, 18, 22, 24, 25