Music » Livewire

Dennis DeYoung

Saturday, November 4, at the Allen Theatre.


A founding member of Styx, Dennis DeYoung pretty much invented the art form we have come to know as the power ballad: huge, bloated tunes filled with ridiculously dramatic and sweeping arrangements that kicked subtlety in the ass and always went a bit too far. DeYoung penned songs such as "Babe," "Lady," and "Come Sail Away" -- all of which exploded with epic grandeur and crossed musical lines into the realm of silly theatricality. That said, it should come as no surprise that Styx quickly unwound and crashed during the early '80s when the band, under DeYoung's apparent influence, stopped occasionally stepping over that line and dove headlong into a theater of the maudlin with the successful concept record Paradise Theatre. The songs on Theatre wove a sort of dramatic tale that presented the album as Broadway. Ultimately, the ideas on Paradise curtailed into the ludicrous and disastrous Kilroy Was Here. Styx collapsed under the weight of such Spinal Tapish preposterousness. DeYoung carried on with a successful solo record (1984's Desert Moon) and in 1994 released 10 on Broadway, a collection of Broadway standards. A brief late-'90s reunion with Styx ended bitterly (although Styx continues to tour with a replacement singer). With his current tour, however, DeYoung has, perhaps, finally found his natural place -- on stage, in front of a 50-piece orchestra, dramatically crooning the music of Styx, selections from his Broadway record, and songs from his "work-in-progress" musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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