Original Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm is promising a different kind of show when he shares a bill with Asia on Saturday, February 29, at the Celebrity Theatre.
Gramm will perform Foreigner songs like “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Cold as Ice” and “Urgent,” and solo tracks such as “Midnight Blue” and “Lost in the Shadows.”
Fans can expect more than that.
“I’m Asia’s special guest,” Gramm says. “I’ll do my songs and then Asia will do a selection of their hits. I may come up and sing background and trade off on lead vocals. It makes it fun.”
Since 1992, Asia has been led by John Payne, at the invitation of keyboardist Geoff Downes. With Payne fronting the band, Asia released eight studio albums and several live recordings.
Gramm is looking forward to the tour after postponing last year’s dates due to illness.
“It struck me down,” he says. “I felt really horrible. I really wanted to go do it, but I was talked into going into the hospital and letting them do exploratory work on me. I’m glad I did. I ended up being there two to three days. It was a lot more serious than I thought.”
Now that he’s back, he’s up for the tour’s challenges, like singing “Jukebox Hero.”
“The vocal range is way up there,” Gramm says. “You have to be in your voice. I enjoy the work Foreigner’s done over the years. I can rearrange the songs a little bit or change a few parts to keep them interesting.
“The songs don’t have to sound exactly like the record. The audience is hoping you apply yourself and do something to them to update them.”
Gramm is working on new material, writing more songs than necessary for an album so he can choose the best tracks.
“The ones that don’t make it, they aren’t bad songs,” he adds. “More than likely they’re just not finished. I’ve been going back and listening to the ideas from my solo albums. They sound good. I might let those extra songs see the light of day.”
Gramm says he’s happy performing occasional gigs and not serving as Foreigner’s full-time singer.
“The band that Mick has now is is full-time Foreigner,” he says. “He has the singer. When the original band comes out, just for an occasional show, it’s a lot of fun. I still get a little chill out of Foreigner’s songs. When you hear those guitars chugging for ‘Hot Blooded,’ it’s amazing.”
Lou Gramm and Asia
8 p.m. Saturday, February 29
Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix