Johnson City, TN

Foreigners Invade Johnson City

John M. Dabbs
Foreigner Greatest Hits Tour - Johnson CityJohn Dabbs/Photographer

Foreigner appeared in Johnson City, Tennessee tonight amid large group of fans at Freedom Hall Civic Center. The band, currently a six-member group, played many of the groups hits. The appearance at Freedom Hall is part of the Foreigner's Greatest Hits Tour.

Hits ring true

Lead vocalist Kelly Hansen brought crowds to their feet as the show began, continuing til the last song was finished. He continued to keep the Foreigner tribes alive and the blood pumping with a high energy performance. The sounds were just as good or better than what we've come to expect on their CDs and over the airwaves.

Jeff Pilson and Bruce Watson are joined by Luis Meldonado playing guitar. Their style and flair were not only fun to watch, they were a pleasure to hear. The juices were flowing tonight from all three artists. The talents unleashed on Johnson City tonight were superb.

Michael Bluestein came out flaming with magic on the keyboards. His fingers did the walking and his mind did the rest. The musical prowess of this magician were extraordinary. His interaction with the light show and sound effects added much to the already solid group.

Foreigner's partner on the stage rise was drummer Chris Frazier. Frazier's solid performance on the drums was equal to his showmanship as he performed many solos during the concert tonight. As my first attendance at a Foreigner concert, I can't say how it compared to the original band cast. I will say they definitely put on a spectacular show that I was privileged to attend with my family.
Foreigner's Greatest Hits Tour - Freedom Hall, Johnson City, TennJohn Dabbs/Photographer

The group played many of their hits, including:

  • Feels Like the First Time
  • Cold as Ice
  • Double Vision
  • Hot Blooded
  • Head Games
  • Urgent
  • Waiting for a Girl Like You
  • Juke Box Hero
  • I Want to Know what Love Is

and others.

History of Foreigner

The British-American rock and roll band formed during 1976 in New York City. Veteran guitarist and songwriter Mick Jones, Ian McDonald (also of Great Britain), and American vocalist Lou Gramm came together for form Foreigner. Taking on Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi, both Americans. Mick Jones was credited with the group's name - due to the Britons in the group.

They released their debut album in 1977, self titled (FOREIGNER). It was to be only the first of four-straight albums certified at five-times platinum on the U.S. music charts. The group peaked at #4 on the U.S. charts, and in the Top-10 in both Canada and Australia. They had two Top-10 hits in North America - "Feels Like the First time", and "Cold as Ice".

The group lost two members in 1981, releasing their album Foreigner 4. It was at number 1 for 10 weeks in the U.S.

The band saw a significant decline after Lou Gramm left the group. He didn't like the use of synthesizers brought into the program, which Jones embraced with the times. Gramm reportedly wanted to stay true to the genre with guitars and drums. He left shortly in 1990, before returning as vocalist, and leaving again in 2003 with continued creative differences with Jones, going on to pursue a solo career.

Foreigner remains one of the the world's best selling rock bands of all time. Worldwide sales have topped 80 million records, and over 37.5 million of those were in the U.S. alone. Jones remains the only founding member still involved with the band.


The show did not sell out at Freedom Hall tonight. The available seating was probably just over half to two-thirds full, yet the response of the crowd was intense. If you couldn't see the empty seats, you wouldn't know it from the enthusiasm and roar of the crowd.

We were glad to have Foreigner come to Johnson City, especially during this pandemic. Hansen made reference to their lack of performing during the early days of the pandemic, stating they hadn't performed in about year and four months. Thank goodness they put Johnson City on their tour. We needed the boost!

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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