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Foreigner took us back to the future when they ripped through Hamer Hall

Backed by the talented Australian National University Orchestra.

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Image source: 
Andrew Friend

Although already confident that I was aware what love was, I have to admit I was extremely excited to see Foreigner. Fifty-two years since their formation, one of the best-selling bands of all time managed to blow the roof off Hamer Hall. And to think it had just been refurbished – what a waste.
 
Appearing with the Australian National University (ANU) Orchestra, Foreigner skipped the traditional support outfits in favour of starting their set at 8.30pm sharp, presumably so 73-year old founder and guitar legend Mick Jones could be in bed by 11. The ANU Orchestra were clearly having the time of their lives, and while, from a parochial perspective, I missed our wonderful MSO, they really were excellent. It’s truly a joy to see an entire string section pumping their bows into the air in time with the beat of Jukebox Hero. 
 
Everyone knows a Foreigner song, I mean everyone, and it’s easy to forget just how big Foreigner were in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Hamer Hall provided a suitably well-appointed venue for the diverse audience, including millennials with their parents, ageing rockers, what looked very much like a bridal party, and at least one member of the Victorian Parliament. 
 
Despite running out of time to collect a nice glass of red as I rushed in, it’s pretty hard to pick a low point. The band were on fire, their guests were loving life, and the punters had come to have a very, very good time. Early hits like Feels Like The First Time, Cold As Ice, Urgent, and Double Vision were greeted with huge whoops of joy. The sound was superb, each song executed by masterful musicians who were clearly having as good a time as we were. 
 
After heading off for the obligatory ‘will we, won’t we’ pre-encore toilet break, Mick and the band returned to the stage a little after 10 to belt out Hot Blooded which had every voice in the Hall yelling at the top of their lungs. Let’s be clear – Foreigner are a generous band; generous with each other on stage, generous in their appreciation of the audience and generous in sharing the limelight with the ANU Orchestra rather than treating them as a just a prop. 
 
After a “slow groove” so we could all “feel the love”, we were teased mercilessly by vocalist Kelly Hansen until the anticipation had the crowd cheering uncontrollably. Only then did we have the absolute pleasure of taking part in one of the best rock ballads of all, I Want To Know What Love Is, alongside a suitably adorable youth choir. There are some moments at shows where you just love life, moments when you struggle to keep the smile off your face.  This was definitely one of those. After promising that they’ll be “back soon”, Foreigner left the stage to rapturous applause from the sweaty, smiling masses filling all three levels of Hamer Hall. Their songs still haven’t left my head.