“How many dirty girls we got here tonight?”
This was the question on the minds of the members of British-American rock band Foreigner as they kicked off their concert in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Friday night, while also celebrating the band’s 40th anniversary.
Audience members both young and old were transported to the 1980s as the band played some of its most classic hits, including “Hot Blooded,” “Cold as Ice” and “Juke Box Hero.”
As soon as the band appeared under the stage’s dim, multi-colored lights, audience members rushed toward the front rows in an attempt to get a high-five from lead singer Kelly Hansen, or a selfie with guitarists Thom Gimbel and Jeff Pilson. Many older concert-goers clapped and screamed song requests to the band as if they had completely forgotten the last four decades have passed.
However, this was exactly the response that Hansen hoped to see from his audience.
“Dig out your 20-year-old rocker,” Hansen said. “Dig past the divorces, kids, tax audits to find that 20-year-old — because that’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna go back 40 years tonight.”
After playing three songs, the band asked the audience to choose the next song based on the amount of applause each song title received. After Hansen offered several options, the audience chose “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” a stand-out from the band’s 1978 album, “Double Vision.”
Founded in 1976, Foreigner’s long history has spawned 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits. Following a nearly complete remastering of the band after a hiatus in 2002, Foreigner experienced another surge in popularity after their songs were used in “Anchorman 2,” “Magic Mike” and “Orange is the New Black.” They are one of the most viewed artists on YouTube, receiving between 700,000 and 900,000 daily views on their videos.
The band returned to the stage during its encore with the members of the Shippensburg Area Middle School chorus in tow, to accompany the band in singing its global No. 1 hit, “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
After the song, Hansen advocated for the education of the arts in primary and secondary school classrooms.
“When they [school boards] want to cut budgets and take money away from our kids, that’s a really negative thing,” Hansen said. “I want you to take a look up here and see how beautiful your future is.”