While baby boomers witnessed this band live in their heyday and children of the ’90s sang along to their top 40 hit “Show Me the Way” on the radio, the hard-driving classic rock group STYX was revived for millennials thanks to the animated series, South Park. In Season 2, the show’s favorite “big-boned” character Eric Cartman (voiced by show co-creator Trey Parker) delivers an unforgettable rendition of STYX’s 1977 chart-topper “Come Sail Away”— a moment that earmarked the tune as pure ’00s pop culture gold.
Today, the band still plays more than 100 shows each year, and the group has taken note of the growing multigenerational fan base.
“It was about 10 years ago that I began noticing the audience getting younger. I started seeing groupings of college guys and teenage girls who knew every single word,” keyboardist Lawrence Gowan said in the press release.
In addition to cultural references and the renewed interest in live music, Gowan also attributed the expanding audience to the basic fact that STYX always puts on a really good show, he said. And on Aug. 12, STYX headlines an 8 p.m. main stage performance at the Franklin County Fair in Malone. Tickets go on sale April 1.
The six-member group, featuring James “JY” Young (lead vocals, guitars), Tommy Shaw (lead vocals, guitars), Chuck Panozzo (bass, vocals), Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion), Gowan (lead vocals, keyboards) and Ricky Phillips (bass, guitar, vocals), were the the first group to score four triple-platinum albums in a row from 1977 to 1981.
The band reunited in 1996 for a successful Return to Paradise tour that was captured on audio and video. The rock legends last performed in New York state at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Feb. 18 and are booked for an Aug. 16 show at the Artpark in Lewiston. They also recently announced that they would perform a New York Mets post-game concert Aug. 13.
First opened in 1820, the Franklin County Fair — known as the Little State Fair in the northern Adirondacks — will be held Aug. 5 through 14. Tickets for STYX and other fair events go on sale this Friday online, at the fairground office or via phone at 518-483-0720. Gate admission is $8 with grandstand tickets priced at $25 and track tickets costing $40. Other acts performing during this year’s 166th fair are Tuesday’s Gone: The Ultimate Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Canadian country artist Larry Berrio and Nashville recording artist Jerrod Niemann.
STYX promises is that fans won’t leave their concerts disappointed.
“When we come offstage at the end of a show, there’s always a sense of elation,” said original member Chuck Panozzo. “You can see it before we take the bow. You see it during ‘Come Sail Away’ and during ‘Renegade’ — that you’ve brought home victory. You brought the prize home. Not only did you bring the prize to yourself, you also brought it to all of the people who were watching you. They’re so aware of it, they want more of it. So they come back time after time.”