Foreigner’s orchestral Australian tour is now underway, so for the rest of the month fans around the country will get to see these greats blast out timeless tunes. Bassist Jeff Pilson graciously took the time out of their schedule to talk all things tour!
The Australian tour comes after a short stint in Europe followed by a more extensive North American tour. Given they ramped things up this time by adding an orchestra as well as a chorus to their live shows, it was very well received, as Pilson explains “We had great reviews, and attendance was far more than what Live Nation had anticipated so we were very pleased with how that tour worked.”
After providing a rundown of tour progress so far, Pilson proudly tells the story of how the whole idea of performing with an orchestra came about. “It sort of happened very organically.” Playing a run of events in Lucerne, they were offered the orchestra and choir to accompany them. The arrangement worked so well the Lucerne shows were recorded and filmed, thus becoming the ‘Foreigner With The 21st Century Orchestra And Chorus’ new album and subsequent touring.
When discussing the album itself, and how it was basically just revamping old hits, Pilson told the story of after they recorded new material back in 2009, they realised “that making an entire record of new material is really really difficult to pull off nowadays, because we tour so much, you know we’re gone ten months of the year, easily. So it’s hard to pull up stakes and take the time to do a whole new record.” With the success of what they have been doing up until now, Foreigner will just keep going steady into the future, finding new ways to play old songs with the odd surprise new song in there.
Pilson also loved to make a point about how much he loves Australia, even enough to remark “this is a country I could see myself living in”. The last time Foreigner came to Australia to tour they only played two shows (one each in Melbourne and Sydney). They have come back this year with a longer tour scheduled, playing more cities and shows. It’s a shame they won’t have a lot of time for sightseeing, as time between shows will be spent mostly travelling between cities. However, Pilson has “been hearing that the Gold Coast is this wonderful party town so I’m particularly excited to see that.”
Fans can be thrilled to hear they’ll be treated to all the hits, restyled with the orchestra. But while there’s that classical element to the performance, according to Pilson “Even though it’s an orchestra, it’s still really rock! It’s an interesting combination because you get the dynamics and subtleties and musicality of an orchestra but you still get a rock band going full throat.” Something interesting he noted regarding the fans from observing them at every show, and what he expects of Australian fans is “they’re gonna forget how many Foreigner songs they know. Every night we hear that from people. So you’re gonna be singing along, having the time of your life and you’re gonna be carried away.”
With the wide age range of Foreigner fans now, Pilson made some interesting observations and remarks regarding the younger portion of the fan base. “It sorta takes a lot of young people by surprise – they’re not expecting older guys to put on such a high energy show.” He found it interesting to see their reactions to the band’s performance. They perform how they always have and it continues to thrill both young and old.