• 7/10


Frontiers Records
Release date: February 25, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Since Styx returned to action following a long hiatus during the 1990s, they have released no fewer than 5 live, albeit fine, albums since 1997, and only two albums of new studio material, along with a covers album to satisfy their fans craving for more music. One With Everything chalks in as live album number 6, and the question is: Do fans need yet another live offering from Styx?

Well, for starters, this one is different. Alongside Styx is The Contemporary Youth Orchestra (CYO) from Cleveland comprising 115 seasoned, modern classical players and a 60-piece choir who would barely have been a twinkle in their parents’ eyes during the golden era of Styx when they achieved the astonishing feat of four consecutive quadruple Platinum albums. Styx have always bordered on the grandiose with their bombastic arrangements and overblown Pomp masterpieces, so it was always a natural step for them to meld Hard Rock with an orchestra, and for one night on the 25th of May 2006, they did just that.

Kicking off in fine style with “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights),” Styx and the CYO immediately become one with a perfect balance between Band and Orchestra giving this classic a real kick of energy and drama. “One With Everything,” originally from the superb Cyclorama, follows with a fierce JY riff and an effective orchestral and choral backing from the CYO.

The haunting violin refrain at the beginning of “It Don’t Make Sense (You Can’t Make Peace)” is a high point of the show and fits perfectly with the Styx interpretation of this Blues standard. The slide playing over the soaring orchestral backing is simply sublime.

Alongside the Styx standards are two brand new songs. The first, “Everything All The Time,” has an up-tempo driving beat reminiscent of The Who, yet retaining the essential Styx harmonies that are so much their trademark. “Just Be” is an altogether more melancholic, atmospheric piece with Tommy Shaw delivering a shimmering, fragile vocal. What is strange here, however, is that this is a studio version in the middle of a live album. Why the live version featured on the DVD was not included or why it was not tagged onto the end of the album as a bonus track is a mystery. It’s a fine song and bodes well for a new Styx studio album, but its position on the album doesn’t feel quite right.

For the most part, the combination of Styx and the CYO works well with “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” and the aforementioned “Blue Collar Man” being prime examples of the Orchestra driving the band forward. At times, the Orchestra is understated yet adds the perfect atmospheric finishing touches to the likes of “Boat On The River” and “Crystal Ball” without overplaying their presence, yet adding to the overall ambience of the music.

On “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” however, Styx are into overdrive and tend to drown out the Orchestra. Lawrence Gowan’s vocal histrionics, however, are well worth the price of admission, as he cements his position as founder Dennis DeYoung’s more than capable replacement.

Finishing the show with a gloriously hammed up JY on “Miss America” and a show stopping “Renegade,” Styx have produced one of the best of their many live releases. One criticism, however, is the omission of the superb “Styx/CYO Medley,” which features many of the Styx classics in medley form, arranged so fluidly by drummer Todd Sucherman, which is available on the excellent companion DVD, featuring additional tracks and various bonus features. It is on the DVD that the interaction between the Band and Orchestra can be enjoyed to the fullest.

The Band have clearly been inspired by the enthusiasm of the CYO, and have put in a fiery and energetic performance, whereas the CYO are far from overawed by this and have risen to the occasion, admirably putting in a performance which belies their tender years. Overall, an impressive release containing fine performances and a worthy addition to the Styx catalog.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.