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Foreigner lead singer Kelly Hansen belted out lyrics for the 1977 hit "Cold As Ice" early Saturday night. But he was anything but chilly three songs into an energetic set as he wandered into a record crowd of about 6,000 for Rock the Park, which seemed to earn its billing.
Hansen laughed when he made it back onto a Mill Race Park portable stage that made it easy for him to still reach out and touch concertgoers Saturday evening.
"There was somebody out there who tried to keep me from coming back up here," Hansen said with a laugh.
The evening was a fundraiser for the Columbus Area Arts Council.
The British-American classic pop-rock hitmakers pulled concertgoers out of their lawn chairs with the opening chords of megahit "Double Vision" right out of the gate. By the group's second tune, "Head Games," crowd members pumped their fists and sang along.
Jerry Lucas, who saw the band in its glory days in 1986 at Chicago Stadium, was all smiles. It mattered little to him that only one original member, Mick Jones, remains.
"What could be better than this?" Lucas asked. "I've loved Foreigner. They were a huge part of the '80s and a big part of my childhood."
Seymour's Jon Vierling was born several years after the group made it big. But he stood just to the left of the stage and marveled.
"They've had so many major hits that it's just ridiculous," Vierling said. "And if I close my eyes, I swear it sounds just like I'm listening to the radio."
Trafalgar's Shelly Haines waited in line with friends for an hour just to get in to the park. She was especially impressed with Foreigner's support of music in schools through the Grammy Foundation, funded partly from its CD sales. About $500 was expected to be donated to Columbus North and Columbus East high schools combined, according to the Columbus Area Arts Council.
A combined choir from the schools joined the band for a rendition of "I Want to Know What Love Is."
"I think it's awesome that they involve the local high school students," Haines said.
The concert opened with area band That Ugly What.
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