Back to the Future. Back to the Future 2. Back to the Future 3. Hot Tub Time Machine. Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Okay … you get my point. Generation X is obsessed with time travel. Maybe there’s a reason. Maybe my generation wants to return to the past, not to suffer through zits and rejection and calculus exams, but to tap into that careless joy that existed before we had bills to pay and kids to raise and responsibilities that had actual consequences. Enter Styx — thank our lucky stars — enter Styx on January 29, 2016 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
Styx took the stage after Tesla as part of the Def Leppard/Styx tour, the last performance before Def Leppard was forced to cancel the tour due to illness. We were fortunate enough to be there for the beginning notes of “The Grand Illusion.” We were fortunate enough to be transported to our bedrooms in our parents’ house, our school-days’ dances, our cassette tapes in our first car. We clapped along with Tommy Shaw to “Too Much Time on My Hands.” We shed tears alongside our seat-mates to the cover of Bowie’s “Starman,” and the timeless “Lady,” in spite of the fact that we were temporarily transported back to reality when we held our cell phones up during “Light Up” instead of our colorful, fat BIC lighters (some of us used them to warm up our eye-liner, you know.)
Photographers are not permitted to return to their seats between sets. After the first three songs we were ushered back, way back, stage to await Def Leppard. It was backstage when I heard magic happen: “Come Sail Away,” every lyric, sung by every person in the 2600+ seat venue. I couldn’t help but channel Cartman in my head, but more than that, I couldn’t help feeling envious that I wasn’t singing with my peers. My husband sent me a text half-way through the song. “I’m 13 again. I’m a 13-year old kid at my first concert.”
For all their spectacular lights, for all their oh-so-obvious joy at performing, the real thrill of this show is that Styx is as eager to bring the past forward as we are to return to it — and THAT is the essence of this show. I’m sailing away, and I’ve set an open course to the best parts of my adolescence. Sorry Katy Perry, but Styx is the soundtrack to my teenage dreams.