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Styx keeps fans happy with energetic performances

| Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Styx has gone through many major changes and evolutions, including a breakup and the departure of lead singer Dennis DeYoung, since the band was born in the early '70s in Chicago.

Yet James "J.Y." Young -- an original Styx member who sings, writes songs and plays the guitar -- says that today's Styx, which will perform Friday at Consol Energy Field, is not just the surviving Styx but the best one.

"This is, in my judgment, the finest incarnation of Styx that's ever taken the stage," Young says.

The six-man band -- which includes Young, Tommy Shaw, Todd Sucherman, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips, and Chuck Panozzo -- has earned its place in pop culture throughout the past 35-plus years. Styx' songs, including the hits "Mr. Roboto," "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "Renegade," have appeared in many films and other media over the years.

In Pittsburgh, Steelers fans know the Styx song "Renegade" as the football team's rallying cry for the past few years.

"We always love coming back to Pittsburgh," Young says. "We're now ingrained in Pittsburgh sports fans' brains. ... We are a part of pop culture; we are mentioned all over the place."

Today's Styx concerts don't include some of DeYoung's songs, including the 1983 smash hit "Mr. Roboto." But Young says the DeYoung songs don't fit well with the band's lineup today, anyway.

Young attributes Styx's multi-generational success to the great music the band has written, and the spirit of some songs, like "Renegade," which still hook young people, many of whom are the children of older Styx fans.

"Those (songs) continue to stand out when young people hear them for the first time," Young says. "My contention is that rock 'n' roll, at its core, is about teenage rebellion. ... 'Renegade' just sort of captures that sense."

Another major factor in Styx's long-term success, Young says, is its focus on touring and live performances.

"People who have seen us say we are out there as if our lives depended on putting on a great show," he says. "It's a wave of joy to be able to continue to do what we do ... and doing it very successfully."

Performing onstage, Young says, is "the one thing that cannot be digitized, and one of the things that we have truly excelled at. ... It's truly a specialty of ours." Additional Information:

Styx

With: The Outlaws and Chris Higbee

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Admission: $19.50-$39.50

Where: Consol Energy Park, 1 Washington Federal Way, Washington, Washington County

Details: 412-323-1919

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