Rodeo’s Drive-Thru Hollywood News: Sail away with Styx, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Tesla

Styx performed at The Giant Center in Hershey on June 30.
Styx performed at The Giant Center in Hershey on June 30. Submitted photo - Rick Diamond
Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson 12, Fleetwood, holds her media credentials.
Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson 12, Fleetwood, holds her media credentials. Submitted photo

I love rock ’n roll! On June 30, I had a chance to see Tesla, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, and Styx at The Giant Center in Hershey. A lot of people came out to see these historical artists who have changed the meaning of music during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, and their decades of hits.

If you’re a kid like me, you may have found these bands the way I did. I became familiar with the headlining act Styx when they were on NBC Universal’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” where there was a lip sync challenge and Jimmy sang their song “Mr. Roboto.” After that, I began investing more time in finding Styx music which made me love the band! A lot of people my age like Adam Sandler and some of his movies like “Big Daddy” and “Billy Madison,” mention Styx and use their songs.

Joan Jett was in a band before Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, called The Runaways and she was only a few years older than I am right now when she started making music with them. Kristen Stewart played her in the movie “The Runaways” and because of the film and her hit “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” is how I found out about her. I like that she is a girl (like me), who uses an electric guitar to make rock music!

Tesla, I have seen in concert before so I knew some of their songs. They get their name from Nikola Tesla, who is famous for his inventions to the electrical sciences.

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All three bands have sold millions of records and are liked by fans of different ages. The style of music all of them play is considered hard rock which is a little bit softer than heavy metal.

Tesla took the stage first and they had what looked like a green vortex behind them which was neat. Their music has both acoustic guitars with loud guitars so it’s hard rock with some soft parts. They played the hits they had in the 1990s. Highlights were “Love Song” and “Signs.” I adore “Signs” and on the video screen were different signs. The audience sang along with the band.

Next up was Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. This was my first time seeing Joan Jett, but I’ve listened to her music for a couple of years. It’s fast loud rock which is what I expected to hear and that’s what she gave the audience. If you go to concerts there is always a chance of being surprised and learning something new and I was. During the show she talked about a movie she did years ago with Michael J. Fox called “Light Of Day.” The theme song was written by Bruce Springsteen and she included it in her set. I also found out there is a documentary coming out about Joan Jett & The Blackhearts called “Bad Reputation,” which is also the title of one of her songs. Highlights for me were “I Love Rock ’n Roll,” which I really wanted to hear and “Cherry Bomb,” a song from her days with The Runaways. What was really awesome was when she did “Crimson And Clover.” The lights made the entire venue turn red! And as a treat, she played one more song, “Everyday People.”

Then the band I was looking forward to seeing, Styx.

They have a connection to one of my favorite artists David Bowie; they opened for him back in 1972. Their music is a little bit different than the other two artists. It’s still hard rock but there is something more to the music. During the show Tommy Shaw (lead vocals and guitar) talked about their new album “The Mission” which he co-wrote. It is the first album of new Styx music in many years. Like some of Bowie’s albums, this is a “concept” album meaning it tells a story; and as he explained while onstage you need to listen to the songs in order to understand the story. If you hit shuffle or change the order it won’t make sense. They played a few songs from this album which is a story about the first people who travel to Mars in the future, 2033.

Most of the show however was their hits and came from the albums “The Grand Illusion” and “Pieces Of Eight.”

Styx did an outstanding job! The stage had stairs which the band ran up and down and they really worked hard at entertaining the audience. Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young (lead guitars and vocals) seemed to be having fun. Behind the band was a video screen with the covers to the albums for the music they played, which was a great way people can look up the songs they heard when the show ends.

Remember what I mentioned earlier about surprises? Styx had them! Chuck Panozzo, who started the band with his late brother, was there on bass. Lawrence Gowan (keyboardist and lead vocals) did it when he sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The show had all the hits people fans want to hear like “Come Sail Away,” “Rockin’ The Paradise,” and “Lady.”

For me, my favorite part of the show was the encore and song I was waiting to hear “Mr. Roboto.” There was a creepy robot on the screen with flames when that was played, and “Renegade” closed the show with lots and lots of confetti!

I would like to say thanks to the following people for being super, awesome, cool! Amanda Cagan at ABC Public Relations, Natasha Desai at PMK BNC, and Olivia York at Hershey Entertainment And Resorts.

Kid Movie Reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, 12, Fleetwood, has been rubbing elbows with celebrities on the red carpet since she was age 4.