Foreigner’s First Tour Leg Grosses $18m

Foreigner’s First Tour Leg Grosses $18m | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Larry Hirshon / Youtube

Renowned rock band Foreigner probably won’t say their farewells yet after having one hell of a tour run that grossed an impressive $18,000,000 in ticket sales.

The hitmakers behind “I Want To Know What Love Is” have recently concluded the first leg of their Historic Farewell Tour with a series of sold-out concerts, rave reviews, and impressive box office earnings.

Foreigner just had one of the most successful classic rock tours of the summer and has planned to continue serenading the fans until next year, and there’s even a bonus lined up, a 16-date, two-part run residency at the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas dubbed Feels Like the Last Time.

Discussing the start of their spectacular end, Kelly Hansen, who fronted Foreigner since 2005, commented: “What a fabulous beginning to our farewell odyssey. The fans have been amazing in expressing their joy for this catalog and this legacy. I very much look forward to continuing to play these amazing songs with this extremely talented band to these brilliant fans all over, and I am filled with humble gratitude.”

And it was indeed a “fabulous” farewell. 

A successful farewell

Because Foreigner has sure let it out and poured their hearts out for their last performances as a group after making sure that their fans are getting what they’re paid for as they wrapped up their 32-show leg.

And who wouldn’t, this will probably be the last chances the world will see the band, with the remaining original member, 78-year-old Mick Jones, having persistent health problems. Before calling it quits, the band decided to do one last tour. And thank the rock gods they did.

The tour, which was announced in November 2022, opened to a sold-out concert at Atlanta’s Ameris Bank Amphitheatre on July 6, 2023.

Despite them looking, well, foreign (yep), due to them mostly not being original members (there were even nights that Jones was absent due to health issues), the band was well-received thanks to Hansen’s energy and rock and roll spirit.

However, there were dates that they brought out past members like founding keyboardist Al Greenwood and classic-era bassist Rick Willis for some of the songs.

The stirring farewell was backed by Canada’s Loverboy (of “Working For The Weekend” fame) and featured some of their best and most enduring hits such as “Juke Box Hero”, “Cold As Ice”, “Hot Blooded”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”, “Feels Like The First Time”, “Urgent”, “Head Games”, “Say You Will”, “Dirty White Boy”, “Long, Long Way From Home” and, of course, their worldwide No. 1 hit “I Want To Know What Love Is”.

In August this year, Foreigner also dropped by ABC’s GMA3 to promote their tour and to plug the tour’s companion album on vinyl, Farewell – The Very Best Of Foreigner. The band also sang “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “Feels Like the First Time”.

When asked by host Eva Pilgrim about their last tour and his thoughts on saying goodbye, Hansen said that it was “mixed”. 

“We’re experiencing on the fly, real-time, how it feels in front of a crowd that you think you might not see again. So, bittersweet really,” the frontman said.

Jukebox heroes since the 70s

Hansen, who had been singing with Foreigner for nearly two decades, was the replacement found by Jones after a brief hiatus following the departure of original singer Lou Gramm.

The former frontman of the heavy metal band Hurricane is just one of the many band members who graced Foreigner in the last three decades or so.

The British-American rock band was originally formed in 1976 by Jones and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with Gramm. Apart from Hansen and Jones, the current lineup also includes Michael Bluestein on keyboards, Bruce Watson on guitar, Chris Frazier on drums, Luis Maldonado on guitar, and Jeff Pilson on bass and keys.

Foreigner had a great start as a band, scoring four straight albums to be certified at least 5× platinum in the US since their self-titled debut in 1977, which yielded “Feels Like the First Time” and “Cold as Ice”.

Their fourth album, simply titled 4, garnered them new fans and recognition with their new sound that departed from hard rock. Their biggest hit from 4, the ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You”, is clearly more mainstream rock and pop.

Their fifth offering, 1984’s Agent Provocateur, became their biggest hit in the UK and other European countries, and it produced the sentimental worldwide hit, Foreigner’s biggest single ever and their most enduring radio staple, “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

A very difficult decision

“Many years ago, I wrote a song called ‘Feels Like The First Time’ and today we are launching one last worldwide tour,” said Jones in a statement when the tour was announced last year. 

Jones continued: “We will be presenting a show that I know will have the same enthusiasm as our very first appearances. While I’m sure our fans will have mixed feelings about the end of the road for the band, I know our shows are going to delight audiences everywhere.”

Nearly five decades after their establishment, the band had come to a “very difficult decision”: a final tour. But Hansen wanted Foreigner to maintain a caliber, not just a band “on the ragged edge of still being able to do shows”.

“I see other musicians sometimes that I go, ‘Wow, that was disappointing,’ and I don’t want to be someone that other people say that about. I want to do this band the way it’s supposed to be, and when it’s not like that I don’t want to be doing it,” Hansen added.

Mick Jones, the sole remaining founding member of Foreigner, assumes something of a guest role at the band’s live performances. He doesn’t attend every show due to health-related concerns and typically takes the stage during the latter part of the set. 

The gracious Hansen acknowledges this situation, stating, “Mick does all the shows he can do with us as his health allows, and we’re cognizant of that. I can’t say that doesn’t have an effect [on the farewell tour decision] but that’s also a reality of life and time, so you take what you’re given and you make your decisions based on that.”