JEFF PILSON Says FOREIGNER's Farewell Tour 'Has Been So Much Fun': 'We're In A Fantastic Place'
November 11, 2023
In a new interview with Shawn Ratches of Laughingmonkeymusic, FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson spoke about the band's farewell tour, which officially launched in July. Asked if it is bittersweet for him to be playing what will turn out to be some of his final shows with FOREIGNER, he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It is bittersweet. I mean, the band is actually sounding, playing, singing, getting along better than [ever]. We're in a fantastic place right now."
Pilson, who has been performing while seated on a stool as the result of a recent back injury, continued: "This tour has been so much fun this year. I mean, it is — it's gonna be bittersweet. The audiences have been great, the crowds are great, but it will be nice to not travel as much. A hundred shows a year for 20 years, that's a lot. I'm ready to slow that down. And we'll see exactly where we go from here, but I know that after next year, 'cause we're gonna go till the end of 24, but I know after next year, no more of the long tours. And yes, it's bittersweet, but, again, I'm just trying to really appreciate it right now and enjoy it 'cause it's been so much fun. And I've even been in a fricking wheelchair, and it's been fun. So I've gotta say. Doing good."
This past September, Pilson told the Idaho radio station 94.9 FM and 104.5 FM The Pick about FOREIGNER's farewell tour: "Well, this isn't the very final leg, but yes, it is the farewell tour and we do mean it. But it's gonna go at least till the end of 2024, so it may not be the last time you see us, but yes, we are seriously calling it a day. We wanna go out while we're still on top, so the feeling is very strong that that's what we're gonna do. And I stand by that because I think it's a show of integrity."
Asked if FOREIGNER's fall 2023 Las Vegas residency will mark the band's final performances, Pilson said: "No. No, no. Well, not necessarily. We don't really know yet. But we know that we're gonna do eight shows at the beginning of 2024, the end of March and early April, and then we have another residency later in 2024, the end of October and early November. So, yeah, quite, quite a bit of Vegas residency next year, which is pretty exciting. But I don't know if that's gonna be the absolute last show or not, but possibly."
He added: "And just because we're doing a farewell tour doesn't mean that we're doing a complete retirement. I mean, we still may do occasional shows here and there — you know, special events or whatever. It's just this is the end of that 'nine months in the year you're on the road' kind of thing."
FOREIGNER will bid goodbye to the Las Vegas Strip with an exclusive headlining two-part "Feels Like The Last Time Farewell Tour" residency at The Venetian Theatre inside The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. The shows will be held March 6 through April 6, and October 25 through November 9, 2024 at 8:30 p.m.
Joining Pilson and founding FOREIGNER guitarist Mick Jones in the band's current lineup are lead singer Kelly Hansen, Michael Bluestein on keyboards, guitarist Bruce Watson, Chris Frazier on drums and guitarist Luis Maldonado.
In July, Hansen was asked by Mike Hsu of 100 FM The Pike if he and his FOREIGNER bandmates already know where and when the final show of the farewell tour will take place. Hansen said: "We're just starting to kind of wrap our brains around what that might be. And listen, there's a lot of pressure from a lot of different areas to get me to continue to do this. And I can't see that I'm gonna continue to do this. So we're now looking… 'Cause when you're a band like FOREIGNER, you're already booking a year in advance. So we're already deeply into 2024. But we haven't decided yet where the last show's gonna be."
The only remaining original member of FOREIGNER, Jones suffered from some health issues beginning in 2011, eventually resulting in heart surgery in 2012. Ever since, it is never announced whether he will be appearing with the band for specific shows — it just depends how he is feeling.
Hansen told 100 FM The Pike about Jones: "He's with us whenever he's able to be with us. And he is still the architect of this band. And he and I have worked closely for many years. And the great thing about it is that we've always been very simpatico about our ideas and about how we think things should be done. So, yeah, whenever he can be with us, he is."
After singer Lou Gramm left FOREIGNER in 2003, Jones took some time off before regrouping a couple years later with an entirely new lineup, featuring Hansen and Pilson, among others.
Gramm was the voice on FOREIGNER's biggest hits, including "Feels Like The First Time" and "Cold As Ice" from the band's eponymous debut in 1977, and later songs like "Hot Blooded" and "I Want To Know What Love Is".
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