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Styx Hit Place Bell and Their Popularity in Montreal is No Grand Illusion [Photos]

Place Bell in Laval was packed to the rafters! Another sell-out in the books for one of Montreal’s favourite bands, Styx. David Myles opened.



Styx on May 21, 2024, photo by Eric Mahannah
Styx on May 21, 2024, photo by Eric Mahannah

Place Bell in Laval is already packed to the rafters, another sell-out in the books for one of Montreal’s favourite bands, Styx. As they hit the stage individually, the crowd immediately roars to life. You can’t help but think about the opening verse of their hit song, “The Grand Illusion.” “Welcome to the Grand illusion, Come on in and see what’s happening, Pay the price, get your tickets for the show.” Indeed, the people did pay the price for their tickets and were now waiting for one of the most anticipated shows to hit the city this Spring.

Styx has been coming to Montreal for almost 50 years, and the band and their vocalist have strong ties to the city. Lawrence Gowan’s first #1 radio hit came in this city, and it was while opening for Styx at a show in 1997 that the seed was initially planted, which would lead to him becoming their new lead singer a few years later. They still play with the youthful exuberance of a group of twenty-somethings on their first tour of the city. There are nothing but smiles from the first note as they looked to be having a great time on the incredibly lit stage. And why not? The Place Bell was filled to capacity with thousands of people who may have secretly wished they were a star and most definitely felt the increased pressure of a pounding heart.

Though not their original singer, Lawrence Gowan has made these songs his own. They were already great, but with the bonus of some Gowan flair and stare, they come to life. His voice is just as strong on this night as it was in the mid-1980s. Musically, can there be a better guitar duo than James Young and the forever-young Tommy Shaw? Tommy Shaw has one of the sweetest voices in rock music and can still trade guitar licks with anyone while also flying around the stage. Having the honour of photographing him while he sang “Too Much Time On My Hands” will go into my mental rock and roll scrapbook.

The show was opened by multi-Juno Award-winning artist David Myles. Hailing from New Brunswick, he immediately won over the crowd by stating how happy he was to be playing for us it allowed him to speak in French. The trio put on a solid show with their expert musicianship and rocking songs. Though he was somewhat unknown to your friendly neighbourhood photographer, David Myles has 15 albums that run the musical spectrum from Rock, Blues, Jazz and R&B. His set inspired me to want to see him perform again.

There hasn’t been a new Styx album in some time, but with a list of hits a mile long, there are more than enough songs in their back catalogue to fill out a setlist. Paul Stanley of KISS once said that they could record new songs, but the people want to hear the old classics. The people were happy to hear those old Styx classics on this night. There is a comfort that comes with old songs and the kind memories of years gone by that they represent. One might say the illusion of eternal youth. Maybe that is the grand illusion; after all, deep inside, we’re all the same. Styx will be touring North America well into the Fall. Don’t forget to get your ticket to the show.