The middle of March holds good things for Dennis DeYoung, Chicago area native and resident, and founding member of the rock band, Styx.
On March 15, DeYoung, along with his six-piece band in a tour that’s now in its fourth year, will perform Styx’s greatest hits from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, where DeYoung has not appeared since the 1980s, he said.
The next day, DeYoung and his band will fly to Los Angeles for an AXS TV Broadcast and live DVD/CD release of the show. DeYoung is thrilled because this DVD is only the second he has recorded, he said. The first was in 2002, the pilot of PBS’ “Soundstage” series, according to DeYoung’s website at www.dennisdeyoung.com.
The website also said that “WTTW PBS Chicago taped DeYoung performing with his rock band and 50 piece symphony orchestra with The Chicago’s Children’s Choir.” That opportunity, DeYoung said “put him on the map as a solo artist.”
“I’m excited about the opportunity to do the rock show because it clearly helps to define who I was, whereas the symphony show was defining who I was 30 years later,” DeYoung said. “It’s also a nice way to celebrate all those songs again in one performance and in one package.”
Despite the notion that “60 is the new 40,” DeYoung finds the concept of senior citizen rock performers an interesting one, something completely unimaginable at the beginning of Styx’s career, he said, since a prototype for older rock and rollers did not exist.
For DeYoung, whose music career now spans more than 40 years, it means forsaking the hair dye and the tight satin pants, adopting a “what you see is what you get” philosophy and contentedly “blending in” with the rest of the world.
“I make no attempt to stick out,” DeYoung said. “Believe me, when I was a much younger man, I made every attempt. It was all about, ‘Hey, look at me!’ ”
Styx fans will see nothing ostentatious or hear anything but beloved Styx music on March 15. Perhaps DeYoung will sneak in a solo song or two but he won’t emphasize it. DeYoung understands the music fans’ point of view, he said.
DeYoung gave this example: if he attended a Paul McCartney concert, he would fully expect to hear Beatles’ music.
“I’m no different from anyone else,” DeYoung said. “When you have these songs to play, people want to hear them. It’s not a mystery even for me. … I think it has something to do with the way people identified me with the band.”
Perhaps that’s because DeYoung, also a keyboardist, composer and record producer, was the lead singer and writer on these Top 10 hit songs: “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Best of Times” and “Don’t Let It End,” according to his website.
So how does DeYoung, also a successful solo artist, feel about an audience that, overall, is coming to see him because he represents Styx? He’s not surprised by it and he’s absolutely fine with it.
“I like a happy audience,” DeYoung said.
Certainly, Styx is experiencing its share of younger fans, DeYoung said. These aren’t simply teens undergoing classic rock “brainwashing” from their parents, for the comments on YouTube, DeYoung added, prove otherwise.
“They say things like, ‘I wish I would have lived during that time,’ ” DeYoung said.
DeYoung sometimes wonders if some of the fan draw is partly because of nostalgia, of people longing to bask in a “certain period of time” that, “through the fog of memory” seemed “innocent and happy.”
“And I think the music of their youth is vital to that,” DeYoung said.
It’s the music of DeYoung’s youth, too. Perhaps that’s why, he, too, has such fondness for it. According to his DeYoung’s website, DeYoung was just 14 when he, along with brothers John and Chuck Panozzo, formed Styx in the basement of DeYoung’s home.
Styx eventually sold more than 35 million albums worldwide, four of them consecutive triple platinum albums.
“To be at this age and still have people wanting to see me is remarkable to me,” DeYoung said. “It’s a lot of hard work, being in show business. Strangers judge me and an awful lot of things go along with that. But on balance, I’ve lived a pretty charmed life.”
If you go
What: Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx
When: 8 p.m. March 15
Where: Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
Tickets: $95, $75, $55, $45, $35
Buy: Available at the Rialto box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at Ticketmaster.com, or charge at 800-745-3000.
Contact: General: 815-726-7171. Box Office: 815- 726-6600