Since Dennis DeYoung’s departure, the question of who is — and who isn’t — Styx has seemed like a settled matter. Tommy Shaw and James “J.Y.” Young record and tour under the moniker, while DeYoung has moved forward as a solo act.
And … yet. It was DeYoung who wrote many of their career-making songs, from “The Best of Times” and “Babe” to “Come Sail Away” and “Don’t Let It End,” to “Lady” and “Show Me the Way.” Then there was “Lorelei,” just Styx’s second Top 40 song. Though co-written with “J.Y.” for 1975’s Equinox, this song is, from its thunderstruck romanticism to its majestic anthemic conclusion, quintessentially DeYoung — not to mention one of the soaring high points of the band’s pre-Shaw era.
All of that is reborn here, as part of the forthcoming Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx: Live in Los Angeles, due October 21, 2014 via Fronters. DeYoung not only reclaims one of his best early songs, he definitively revives the question who is, and who isn’t Styx. His voice is unbent by the years, his outsized personality as unfettered as ever, his band capable if somewhat faceless. Then you catch a glimpse of his name, on the bass drum, presented in Styx’s familiar font — and this band’s age-old dichotomy is once again made real.
The truth is, they both are Styx. The group touring with the name represents one half of what made them a multi-platinum success in the late 1970s, the heartland rock side, while DeYoung moves forward with the sweeping stage persona, this glorious pomp. You realize, all over again, how important this last part was to their recipe for success. It took both halves to make Styx whole back then, and it still does.
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