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It (still)?feels like the first time

Music sales are at their highest since the ’80s

June 3, 2012

Success. No word better describes the past year for classic rockers Foreigner.

The band released a three-disc set, achieved its highest ever one-week digital sales mark, had its highest album sales since the 1980s and entered the Top 10 at Classic Rock Radio for the first, all the while keeping up a rigorous touring schedule.

In addition, three Foreigner songs - the most by any group - will be included in "Rock of Ages," a feature film based on the Broadway play, which will open in theaters the same day the band plays at Shellabration in Fort Dodge.

In short, "we're doing great, but we've worked hard to get here," said bassist Jeff Pilson in a telephone interview. "We put out a new record that did quite well. We're going to be touring for the next several years, and we're having a blast. It's kind of a charmed, magical situation, and all of us are very aware, very grateful and want to keep on doing that.

"We've brought Foreigner into the consciousness of the modern audience."

That, he also partly attributed to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, the music video games that introduced Foreigner "to a lot of kids who had never heard it."

Having three songs featured in a new motion picture will also boost the band's appeal to new and old audiences.

When "Rock of Ages" opens on June 15, audiences will get a chance to hear something Pilson hasn't yet heard: Tom Cruise singing "I Want to Know What Love Is."

"From what I heard, he did an amazing job, so we're very excited. It's going to be a fun summer for Foreigner."

Foreigner's new three-disc set - "Feels Like the First Time" - features "Juke Box Heroes," a CD version of the band re-recording all its classic hits; an unplugged version of classic hits, called "Acoustique"; and the "Live in Chicago" DVD.

The reaction to the band's newest release has been "phenomenal," Pilson said.

"Consequently, we're just on the road forever," which suits him fine.

"When you become a musician, you become a musician to connect," he said. "I love the studio. I have a wonderful studio in my home now, and I love being there. I love making music."

"But there is still nothing in the world like the feeling of going out there and playing in front of an audience and connecting with them. We get to do that 100-plus times a year, and it's the greatest job on the planet. Why wouldn't I do it? It's a fabulous feeling."

Almost every night, he said, "I can feel the crowd lift into it. You get in there, and you lift them up, and we all lift up together. And that truly is the best high on the planet."

The Shellabration audience should expect a high-energy show at the Oleson Park Bandshell, Pilson said.

"You will constantly be saying to yourself, "Wow, I didn't know they did that one,' and 'Oh, I didn't know they did that one.' You're going to be doing a lot of singing. You're going to have a lot of fond memories. It's going to be a great night."

His advice to concert-goers: "Be prepared to sing. Be prepared to have fun, and be prepared to put out your all, because we're going to give our all."

Shellabration gates open at 5:30 p.m. Wheelhouse - which features Iowa Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame inductees Dean Davis and Dave Hearn - and Just Around Midnight are the opening acts. Foreigner is scheduled to play at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for $28 online at, by phone at (866) 468-3401 and in Fort Dodge at CS Bank, First American Bank, First Federal Savings Bank, Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drug Store, Northwest Bank and Wells Fargo.

After today, tickets will cost $32 which will also be the cost at the gate.

Children under 12 are admitted free with an adult, and all tickets are general admission, festival-style seating.

Editor's note -?The June 10 Lifestyle section will include profiles on the local bands that will open for Foreigner at Shellabration.



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