Foreigner at Ramblin' Man Fair, Maidstone, Kent.

Bruce Watson, Mick Jones & Tom Gimbel triple axe attack.

Bruce Watson, Mick Jones & Tom Gimbel triple axe attack.

Foreigner bring it on home at Ramblin’ Man Fair.

By Paul Davies.

It's an adrenaline-pumping and dizzying effect at a live show to observe overhead what is happening right in front of your very own eyes. It puts a whole new perspective on what is a live experience. As the drone hovering above the rammed to the margins field of Foreigner fans proved as it beamed its aerial view of the masses onto the stage screens below.

It was at that precise moment when it became as crystal clear as buffalo grass vodka, that Foreigner was bringing their elite class oeuvre back on home turf and in some considerable style.

A true test of a band's legendary presence, beyond their own sum of parts, is when a field of relative strangers band together to enjoy the hedonistic rush of camaraderie and belt out the words to nearly every song with each other.

Foreigner brings strangers together and makes them friends.

Hot Blooded singer Kelly Hansen raising the energy levels.

Hot Blooded singer Kelly Hansen raising the energy levels.

Sounding as fresh as the day it was recorded, ‘Double Vision’ found the band racing onto the stage. Singer Kelly Hansen jumped from the drum riser straight into the first verse of this uplifting opening rock anthem.

And anthems is what Foreigner has been synonymous with throughout an ever-changing career.

‘Head Games’ served as a banging primer for the arch piano chord riff to ‘Cold As Ice’. Matching the band word for word the crowd were, by now, right in the zone as the opening synth notes to ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’ rained down from the speaker towers positioned above the stage.

It was as though this field full of fans were revelling in the ultimate Foreigner tribute band. Until sartorially strolling out onto the stage, Gibson Les Paul in hand, original founding member Mick Jones took all the tributes in his stride as he strummed out the chords to ‘Feels Like The First Time’ from the band’s eponymous debut album.

With the melodic AOR chorus echoing into the Kent evening, to the resounding joy of this field of friends, ‘Urgent’ took up the anthemic baton and ran hard with it into the night.

However, just as the atmosphere was about to hit fever pitch, a somewhat out of place and unnecessary drum and keyboard solo punctured the air out of the hot bubble of energy the band had hitherto created.

Some fifteen minutes, or so, later the full band returned to blow hard and redeem themselves on an epic ‘Jukebox Hero’; which was arguably the best-performed song of the night.

Unnecessarily deflating the highly charged atmosphere, Kelly Hansen's overextended vacuous introduction to ‘I Want To Know Love Is’ exacerbated most in the audience. Nevertheless, a perfectly executed take on this balladic banger produced a mighty wave of hands before set closer ‘Hot Blooded’ pumped up the energy levels once again.

Its mighty beat turned the wave of hands into a fist-pumping frenzy.

Tonight's set was a shorter somewhat abridged show than usual by Foreigner to close a highly enjoyable and successfully organised festival by Spirit of Rock.

Never mind Double Vision, the organiser's sharp focus on next years festival will have to be at 2020 vision to top Ramblin’ Man 2019!

Photography by Andy Rawll.


Original founding member Mick Jones.

Original founding member Mick Jones.

Paul Davies