James "J.Y." Young - vocals, guitar; Tommy Shaw - vocals, guitar; Chuck Panozzo - bass guitar; Dennis de Young - vocals, keyboards; John Panozzo - drums
Styx launched their 1976 tour to promote their first A&M release, Equinox. This mini-set, which features material from that album, as well as songs from the band's Wooden Nickel / RCA releases, was the start of the band's platinum years, when Styx became FM staples and a large concert draw.
Featuring "Born For Adventure," "Lady," "Lorelei," "22 Years," and "You Need Love," the set is a tour de-force for keyboardist and vocalist Dennis DeYoung, who would later gain control of the band, only to be replaced after its first reunion tour. But these recordings, done for the King Biscuit Flower Hour (who would eventually record the band a half dozen times), were captured during a much happier period, when Styx were at the onset of what would eventually become a mild case of world domination.
Guitarist John Curulewski left the band after the release of Equinox (at the tail-end of 1975), and was quickly replaced for promotional-touring duties by Tommy Shaw. Shaw's influence as a hit-maker would become apparent with the release of "Mademoiselle," a Top 40 hit that was his recorded vocal debut, and released in October of 1976 on the Crystal Ball LP.
Both Shaw and J.Y. Young are captured on "22 Years" (an old Curulewski song), which features Shaw's guitar work and Young's high-pitched voice. Needless to say, both make their presences felt. "Lorelei," from the Equinox record, would go on to become one of the band's biggest radio hits. On "You Need Love," from Styx II, the band shows early signs of the lyrical direction they would eventually take on a lot of songs. "Lady" which also appeared on the earlier Wooden Nickel Records releases, was a milestone in Styx's musical career. It had been recorded for Styx II, and was a local Chicago favorite. Eventually, it led to a deal with A&M, and their ability to make bigger budgeted records. "Lady" ironically became a national hit when it was re-released two years after its original date.
Styx had just broken into the mainstream at the time of this recording. The voices are a little off-key but it is evident to see the time and energy they are incorporating to the newer, more grandiose live Styx production. After this tour, their albums, arguably, became more and more contrived. Eventually Styx split in 1984. Shaw formed Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent, and DeYoung launched a solo career that was only moderately successful at best. The band reunited in the 1990s, but without John Panozzo, who had died from alcohol-related issues. The reunion was a surprise success but eventually the rift between Shaw and DeYoung resurfaced. When DeYoung took a leave to recuperate from an eye ailment, the band regrouped with a new singer. DeYoung tried to sue, and in 2001 the two parties settled.
Shaw and Young now front a newer version of Styx (Chuck Panozzo left after contracting AIDS). DeYoung, after getting his Broadway fix with a failed album of classics from the Great White Way, tours as "the former vocalist of Styx."
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