Styx’s Never Ending Tour

For an artist to have a decades-long, successful touring career, it helps to have hits – and lots of them – but it may be even more important to have established relationships and bonds to carry not just the band members but crews, promoters, agents and managers through years on the road. 

Photo: Mike Oberg / Pollstar
Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Lemoore, Calif.

Styx is one such band that has mastered this fine art. And Pollstar Live! conference-goers will get an inside look at how they’ve managed to sustain the ultimate in road warrior feats during the Friday panel: “Started in 1999 – The Tour That Never Ends… STYX!”

Moderated by veteran promoter and raconteur Danny Zelisko, this panel includes representation from just about every aspect of the Styx touring experience: Red Light Management’s Charlie Brusco, CAA’s Rod Essig, Styx tour manager George Packer, and the band’s own James “JY” Young and Lawrence Gowan. Styx has virtually been on the road since 1999, as the panel title suggests.

Zelisko and Brusco gave Pollstar a bit of a preview of what goes into a 16-year tour, and what panel-goers can look forward to.

“Tommy Shaw and JY made a decision a long time ago for the band to exist 12 months per year,” Brusco said. “We went to Rod [Essig] to see if it was possible to book those so we could play at least six shows in most months. We try to book warm weather cities in January and February, and some packages for the summer. “But we also like to play as ‘An Evening With Styx’ so our most loyal fans can get a longer show with deeper cuts than just the hits that everyone knows. It grew to the point we’re a year-round touring band.”

And that takes teamwork, not to mention some variety in presentation so touring doesn’t become a monotonous chore. In addition to playing casinos and theatres, to larger packaged arena shows with the likes of REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, or Yes, Styx is in the middle of a three-night stand with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra at , coinciding with Pollstar Live!

Zelisko promises to put it all in historical context and tie it together with stories, as only Zelisko can. And Brusco hints at surprises, though he’s not telling. You’ll have to come find out.

“Started in 1999 – The Tour That Never Ends… STYX!” takes place Friday from 2-3:15 p.m. in Broadway GH. 

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