Tommy Shaw of Styx tells all about tour with Foreigner, song origins, more

Tommy Shaw of Styx tells all about tour with Foreigner, song origins, more

It’s an almost unbelievable story.

The year is 1980 and Styx lead singer Tommy Shaw is sitting in his car, stewing.

“I was driving to rehearse with the band before we started recording our album ‘Paradise Theatre,’” he told the New York Post in an exclusive interview. “The whole time I’m thinking ‘I’m going to show up empty handed.’”

Suddenly, inspiration struck.

“I heard this sound in my head,” Shaw smiled. “And I was like a dog when he recognizes something, so I started making up words like ‘sitting on this barstool talking like a damn fool’ and ’12 o’ clock news blues.’ That sounded like a good line.”

He ran inside, started dictating music to his bandmates and that was that.

“In five minutes, it sounded pretty much like the song you hear on the record,” Shaw said.

Now, over 40 years later, Shaw and Styx are still going strong and taking off on a summer ‘Renegades and Juke Box Heroes Tour’ with Foreigner and John Waite starting mid-June.

However, before their highly-anticipated co-headlining trek gets underway, the “Renegade” rockers swing into Niagara Falls’ Seneca Niagara Casino on Saturday, March 23, Syracuse’s Landmark Theatre on Sunday, March 24, Binghamton’s Visions Veterans Memorial Arena on Tuesday, March 26 and Westbury’s NYCB Theatre on Wednesday, March 27.

And yes, you can expect them to bring the hits you know and love like “Come Sail Away,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Renegade,” “Lady,” “Blue Collar Man” as well as cuts from their gorgeously arranged 2021 album “Crash of the Crown.”

Want to see the melodic prog icons rock like it’s 1980?

We hope you’ve got “too much time on your hands” to spare because our team has everything you need to know about Styx’s solo and co-headlining tour with Foreigner and John Waite below.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Styx 2024 tour schedule

A complete calendar including all tour dates, venues and links to buy tickets can be found below.

Note: All co-headlining dates with Foreigner are in bold.

Styx tour dates
March 22 at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT
March 23 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY
March 24 at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY
March 26 at the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, NY
March 27 at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, NY
April 5 at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, MI
April 6 at the Island Resort & Casino in Harris, MI
May 3 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, MI
May 4 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, MI
May 17 at the Molson Canadian Centre in Moncton, NB, CA
May 18 at the Credit Union Place in Summerside, PE, CA
May 19 at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, NS, CA
May 21 at Place Bell in Laval, QC, CA
May 22 at the Amphitheatre Cogeco in Trois-Rivieres, QC, CA
May 25 at the Agora Port de Quebec in Quebec City, QC, CA
June 11 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
June 12 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
June 14 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON, CA
June 15 at the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI
June 18 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, MO
June 19 at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, AR
June 21 at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, TX
June 22 at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX
June 25 at the Ball Arena in Denver, CO
June 26 at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, UT
June 28 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
June 29 at the Toyota Pavilion in Concord, CA
June 30 at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend, OR
July 12 at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN
July 13 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
July 15 at the Credit One Stadium in Charleston, SC
July 17 at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA
July 19 at the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
July 20 at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL
July 23 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
July 24 at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
July 26 at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, IN
July 28 at the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, NJ
July 30 at the Broadview Stage at SPAC in Saratoga Springs, NY
July 31 at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, PA
Aug. 2 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA
Aug. 3 at the Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor, ME
Aug. 4 at the BankNH Pavilion in Gifford, NH
Aug. 16 at The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, AL
Aug. 17 at the Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, AL
Aug. 20 at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA
Aug. 21 at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, NC
Aug. 23 at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
Aug. 24 at the Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL
Aug. 26 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, NE
Aug. 28 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, SD
Aug. 30 at Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND

Styx set list

While we can’t predict what Styx will dust off and bust out at the show you attend, here’s what they played at a November 2023 gig, courtesy of Set List FM.

01.) “To Those”

02.) “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”

03.) “The Grand Illusion”

04.) “Lady”

05.) “Light Up”

06.) “Crash of the Crown”

07.) “Lorelei”

08.) “Miss America”

09.) “Crystal Ball”

10.) “Rockin’ the Paradise”

11.) “Our Wonderful Lives”

12.) “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)”

13.) “Too Much Time on My Hands”

14.) “Khedive”

15.) “Lost at Sea”

16.) “Come Sail Away”


17.) “Mr. Roboto”

18.) “Renegade”

About the co-headlining ‘Renegades and Jukebox Heroes Tour’

When they meet up this summer, it’ll be an added bonus for the “Grand Illusion” group that they get to play with their friends from Foreigner.

“They’re great guys,” Shaw shared. “I love Mick Jones’ songwriting and production. He’s always got great people in his band.”

Based on our findings, this will be the third time the groups have toured together; their last two runs were in 2007 and 2014.

Foreigner is also conducting a solo extended farewell tour this year; you can find their complete 2024 tour calendar here.

John Waite

Waite, 71, was the lead singer for the Babys and Bad English but most likely you know him from his smash single “Missing You.” Most recently, he dropped the “Wooden Heart Acoustic Anthology” in 2021.

You can find his entire discography here.

How “Renegade” came to be

Mysteriously, “Renegade” appeared out of thin air for the songwriter Shaw as well.

“It’s funny because Alan Parsons is part of the story because he had this great album, ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination,’” he told us.

“There’s a song called ‘The Raven’ and it had this amazing section in it. I thought, ‘I’m going to figure out how to play that on piano.’ I’m not really a piano player, but I learned how to play those inversions.”

From there, lightning struck.

“I played with it. Songs start out as little, sloppy things and you chisel away at it. That’s where that came from so I give him credit for inspiring that.”

From there, Shaw recorded himself on the piano, wrote the words and sang all three parts.

He delivered the demo to the band and they “rocked it up.”

Still, decades later, there’s more to the song’s origins than meets the eye.

“Last year, Alan Parsons asked me to sing on his most recent album and I was thrilled…I said ‘I have to admit, I sort of changed a little bit on this one song of yours.’ He told me ‘Paul McCartney said I took it from ‘Band on the Run.’ Same chorus!”

Wondering where you’ve heard this headbanging bop before?

It’s likely you caught “Renegade” on “Ozark” or at a Pittsburgh Steelers’ game; the upbeat jam is the team’s unofficial anthem.

Styx origins

Shaw joined the group years after the Panozzo brothers founded the band with Dennis DeYoung.

In 1975, they found the long-haired singer through directory assistance in Montgomery when they were looking for a new guitar player.

At the time, he was at a bit of a career crossroads.

“I had just come back from touring with bands for three years and it just never happened. We played Tower of Power, Uriah Heep type stuff. Pretty soon after, I got a gig playing at a bowling alley where they’d pay me $200 a week,” he recalled.

Styx’s touring manager had seen Shaw’s band in Chicago and called him in to audition.

“I told him ‘look man, I get 200 bucks a week here. You got to beat that.’”

The manger insisted he meet with the guys. Once he was there, the band sat him down at the piano and asked him to sing the high note in ‘Lady.’ Shaw miraculously pulled it off.

“It sounded blended so they told me ‘You got the job. Go home, learn these 13 songs. Pack your bags and we’re going on the road.’ That’s how it happened.”

Two years later they produced “Grand Illusion” and Shaw was sure they had a hit on their hands.

“We went in the studio, recorded it and I said ‘everybody be careful crossing the street because this album is going to change our lives.’”

Dennis DeYoung reunion

As of now, there are no plans for original Styx member Dennis DeYoung to re-join the group.

“Dennis is retired,” Shaw told us. “We wish him a long and happy life in retirement. I’m not ready for that yet.”

“They’ll probably carry me out in a body bag.”

Linda Blair

From 1979-81, Shaw dated “Exorcist” actress Linda Blair.

To these days, the two remain close.

“She is such a sweet friend and has a a dog rescue that she’s dedicated her life to. We just love her to death.”

Classic rockers on tour in 2024

Although the ’70s may seem like a lifetime ago, many of the biggest acts who broke out during the Watergate Era are still going strong.

Here are just five of our favorite artists from way back when you won’t want to miss live next year.

• Rolling Stones

• Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

• Stevie Nicks

• Neil Young

• Robert Plant with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson

Who else is on the road? Check out our list of the 52 biggest classic rockers on tour in 2024 here to find out.

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