Lou Gramm to rock Ribbon Town tonight

Published 10:29 am Friday, June 16, 2023

SOUTH BEND — When former Foreigner front man Lou Gramm hits the stage at the new Ribbon Town at the Four Winds Casino in South Bend tonight, fans can expect a mixture of classic Foreigner hits and songs from his solo albums.

Gramm continues his 12-date tour, which runs through Nov. 4, with an all-star band that will take fans back to the late 1970s and on a musical tour that leads up to Gramm’s most recent work.

The band consists of bassist Tony Franklin, saxophonist and guitarist Scott Gilman and keyboardist Jeff Jacobs — who both played with Gramm and Foreigner — lead guitarist Alex Garcia and drummer Ben Gramm.

“It will be a cross section of all the best Foreigner songs with a number of my solo songs thrown in there,” Gramm said in a recent telephone interview. “It is going to make for a hard-rocking concert.”

Gramm was with Foreigner from its inception in 1977 until May of 1990 when differences between him and Mick Jones became too much and he left the group to pursue a solo career.

Gramm released several solo albums, including “Ready or Not,” which featured hit single “Midnight Blue.” His “Long Hard Look” album, released in 1989, spawned another top 10 hit with “Just Between You and Me.”

Gramm rejoined Foreigner in 1992 and remained with the band until he was sidelined in 1997, one day before the group was scheduled to depart for a tour of Japan, when he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, which required surgery.

He returned to Foreigner in 1998. He left the group for the final time on 2003.

When he was not fronting the band, he remained busy working on his own projects, as well as, lending his talents to others.

Gramm enjoyed being able to pick the things he wanted to do without having to make a decision as a collective group.

“It was very redeeming,” he said. “It was really exciting. There was a real excitement I hadn’t felt doing things on my on in a long time and no one looking over my shoulder. It helped to boost my confidence in myself that I didn’t need the approval of anyone. I could write my songs and try my ideas given all the things I’ve been through and learned over the years.”

Perhaps even more satisfying was when he was done writing a song, at the end of it was just his name as the author.

In preparing for this tour, Gramm said it was tough putting together a set list due to the number of hits he has had throughout the years.

“That is a juggling act,” he said. “You want to make sure you include everything, but sometimes you can’t and you have to leave it off until the next show. Then you have to leave something else off. You kind of prioritize not only the songs you like, but the songs the audience would love to hear. You have to use that as your guidepost.

Gramm said his show will start off rocking, and then three or four songs in you play your first ballad. Then it is back to rocking again.

“It is almost like a baseball manager putting together his lineup,” Gramm said.

Tonight’s show at Ribbon Town is sold out.