Review: Foreigner at Portsmouth Guildhall

Foreigner at Portsmouth Guildhall
Foreigner at Portsmouth Guildhall
The Darkness. Picture by

Simon Emmett

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Sometimes there is an itch that only classic rock can scratch.

Support act Europe will forever be associated with that song, but they proved they were more than one-trick ponies with a solid hard-rocking set.

But it was the ’80s material that got the biggest cheer, Cherokee and Rock the Night, and naturally they finished with The Final Countdown, which duly sent the packed house crazy.

And frontman Joey Tempest must have one hell of a painting in the attic – the man was looking frighteningly good.

Portsmouth native Mick Jones may be the only remaining original member of Foreigner, but he has gathered a fine band around him.

By the time Mick makes his entrance on Feels Like the First Time five songs in, they’ve already despatched Cold as Ice and Waiting for a Girl Like You.

Mick clearly relishes playing his hometown and he’s a proper guitar hero – the frequent solos are impressive without being indulgent – Starrider in particular lets him show his chops.

Kelly Hansen is a great frontman – there’s more than a hint of the Steven Tylers about him, but he’s got the voice, and he works the crowd well. And when he reappears for the encores in a Pompey shirt, it wins a big cheer.

Tom Gimbel also deserves a mention for his freewheeling sax solo on Urgent.

They encored with I Want to Know What Love Is, joined onstage by the Portsmouth High School choir, but by then the whole crowd was on its feet and singing every word back at them.

With a final romp through Hot Blooded, the band were spent.

Consider that itch well and truly scratched.