Foreigner has determined the next 40th anniversary reunion for its original members — and plans to preserve it for posterity.
Group founder and leader Mick Jones will be joined by original frontman Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, along with the group’s second bassist Rick Wills, for a pair of shows on Oct. 6-7 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant Michigan (get tickets here). The concerts will be filmed for a TV special, DVD and live album, all expected to be released during 2018.
This won’t be the first reunion for the Foreigner alumni. Gramm, McDonald and Greenwood joined Jones and the current Foreigner lineup for a three-song encore on July 20 at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY, while Elliott came on stage Aug. 2 in Tampa, Fla., and Wills had played with the group in June 11 in Spain. Earlier this summer Jones told Billboard that the success of those shows made another reunion — and possibly more — inevitable.
“One thing for sure is all the musicians are getting on very well together and it’s just refreshing and we’re really enjoying it,” said Jones, who repaired a fractured relationship with Gramm when the duo was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013. “Lou is good, and he’s kept his voice. Al and Ian are playing the same as they did 40 years ago, basically, and it’s a hoot. It’s great adrenaline and very enjoyable. I think there’s no bad apple anywhere in the whole thing, so I can’t see any big problems.”
Gramm, meanwhile, confirms that the feeling is mutual. “It’s been exciting and certainly stirs up a lot of memories,” he says. “It’s great to be back on stage with Mick again, and the other members. There’s been talk about this going on periodically over the last for our five years, but I’m pleasantly surprised and happy we can use this 40th anniversary to actually do it. It’s certainly an enjoyable experience.”
Foreigner is currently determining what songs the alumni will be playing, and it’s expected that the current members will collaborate on some of the material as well, as they did at the other shows. “I think that was really kind of bridging the gap and just felt like the right thing to do,” Gramm says. “I anticipated that it would (be weird), but it’s not. They guys in the new band are terrific, and they’ve helped out in a number of ways. I think they respect the history, and I think they’re enjoying the anniversary tour as much as we are.”
The Michigan shows may not be the last we see of the Foreigner alumni, either.
“Oh, it’s definitely crossed my mind,” Jones said. “I think it’s something the fans would love. It’d be interesting, the contrast of the two styles of the two bands. I think it would be appealing. It’s not carved in whatever things are carved in, but the thoughts are flowing around. But I’m still not quite sure how to forecast it. A lot of goodwill has to be flowing and I think it’s started…so I can’t see any big problems with doing (more).”
Gramm, who’s announced plans to retire from active touring life this year, says he’d be up for more with Foreigner. “I don’t want to drag it out on tour buses and all that stuff, but the occasional show here and there would still be a lot of fun, I think.” He’s also hoping the reunion performances will rekindle his songwriting relationship with Jones. “We’ve mentioned it,” Gramm says, “And depending on a number of things I think that could happen again. In what capacity and for who I don’t exactly know, but I’m not even concerned about that end of it. I just want to write again and craft some great songs. They could go to other artists as far as I’m concerned and I’d be happy.”
Foreigner currently has North American dates and a concert in Mexico booked into mid-November, while a European tour begins May 8 in Bulgaria.