Dennis DeYoung carries on

Even when he’s sick, he’s good. Dennis DeYoung may have been battling a sore throat and a cold, but he still gave an impressive performance at Rockford’s Coronado Theatre on Jan. 10.

The former Styx keyboardist/singer sounded a bit strained at times and was forced to leave out a few songs from his original set list, but for the most part, these deficiencies were barely noticeable. This might have been due to the outstanding aid of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, which added a unique spin to his material.

DeYoung showcased a variety of songs from different stages of his career. He performed a few selections from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a new musical he has written and plans to direct. This segment featured the stunning voice of Amick Byram, a Broadway veteran traveling with DeYoung and Dawn Marie, a backup vocalist who sings the part of Esmerelda. Coincidentally, she also happens to be his sister-in-law.

In fact, much of the concert was a family affair for DeYoung. His son, Matthew, ran the light show, and his wife, Suzanne, sang backup on a few songs.

Additionally, DeYoung played a number of works from his solo albums including “Black Wall.” This dramatic song was originally a tribute to the soldiers of Vietnam, but is now dedicated to today’s military. Another standout was the recently penned “Hello God,” which expresses his confusion regarding the 9/11 crisis.

DeYoung wisely drew most of his material from his Styx days. He performed classics such as “Lady,” “Babe” and “Suite Madame Blue.” Fans particularly enjoyed the unique hit “Mr. Roboto,” complete with DeYoung’s mechanical movements and bizarre expressions. The highlight of the show, however, came during the encore when DeYoung performed “Come Sail Away.” The entire crowd was on its feet, singing along word for word.

Although DeYoung is quite talented on his own, the addition of the orchestra greatly enhanced the show. Many performers are starting to use this approach as they realize that pop or rock music, plus classical orchestrations, yields amazing results.

For more information on DeYoung’s tour or how to order his music, visit

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