EVERETT — The show must go on, but usually it doesn’t go on with a fan from the audience.
Steve Fournier settled into row 8, seat 28 with an Alaskan Amber ale in hand Friday night to watch the Loverboy concert at Xfinity Arena.
The ’80s nostalgia band made it through two songs when lead singer Mike Reno announced that he was too sick to continue.
“It’s just not happening,” Reno told the crowd. “I wish a throat lozenge could fix it. We do a hundred shows a year and this is the first time it’s happened in I don’t know how long. There’s nothing much I can do, I have to be honest with you. Is this the point where they throw stones?”
He brought up singer Cathy St. Germain to continue the concert. Germain asked the crowd if anyone knew Loverboy songs.
That’s when one of Fournier’s friends, Colin Mattson, 49, pointed to Fournier. Mattson was seated several rows closer to the stage.
“He started going over everybody’s chairs to get back to me,” Fournier said. “He grabbed me by my coat and said, ‘Man we’ve got to get you up there.’ ”
Fournier, 44, who has long, flowing hair and lives in Federal Way, has been a drummer for years. In the past year, he’s started singing as the lead vocalist for a Foreigner tribute band, Fever 103.
He made his way to the stage and got boosted up by Mattson. Reno brought over his signature bandana and placed it on Fournier’s head. Within moments, Fournier was belting out “Turn Me Loose” with the original band.
“I wasn’t going to go up there to fail,” Fournier said. “I was going to go up there to have a good time and make sure everybody else was having a good time and rock the house. I wanted to pay my respects to a band that I grew up as a kid listening to.”
Germain asked Fournier if he knew the next song in the set, “Hot Girls in Love.” Fournier said he couldn’t remember all of it and didn’t want to botch the lyrics. He asked Germain if she was going to sing.
“She said, ‘I’m not going to sing Mike Reno’s stuff, I’m not a guy,’ ” Fournier said.
Another singer — someone with the band — got on the stage and continued for the next couple of songs.
Meanwhile, Fournier posed with Reno while his buddy took photographs from the side of the stage. The two friends pounded fists and high-fived each other, caught up in the moment.
Then Fournier came back to sing, “The Kid is Hot Tonight.”
In the end, Reno, Fournier and the other singers closed the show with “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend.”
Fournier has never been in front of a crowd as big as the one at Xfinity Arena; the official crowd size for Survivor and Loverboy concert was just under 2,000.
Fournier had paid $100 for tickets for himself and a buddy, Eric Close, the bassist in Fever 103. It was a late birthday present for Close. On the stage, one of the band members offered to pay Fournier for his time.
“The keyboardist, he was a super nice guy, he pulled a few bucks out of his pocket and said, ‘Hey, man, can we pay you?’ Fournier said. “I said, ‘Hey, man, no, I’m good. Thank you.’ The fact they were thanking me, I was beside myself.”
After the show, Fournier soaked up the attention, listening to nearby fans chanting his name. Mattson, who lives in Snohomish, said he and Fournier and their other friends lingered until the lights came on.
“We stayed up there for a few minutes and then we kind of walked down off the stage and Steve just got mobbed by fans,” Mattson said. “We were there for 35 to 40 minutes whooping it up with people who enjoyed the show. Two of the Everett PD came up to us and said, ‘That was amazing. That was so cool.’”
Some fans questioned whether Fournier was a plant.
“A lot of people came up to me at the end of the night and said, ‘Was that staged?’ ” Fournier said. “No, it wasn’t staged. I was there to see the show.”
Fans who paid to see Loverboy not Fournier posted their displeasure on an Xfinity Arena Facebook page devoted to the concert.
“Huge disappointment!! The lead singer of loverboy baled (sic) after 2 songs and pulled a guy out of the audience to finish singing the rest of the concert. I did not spend $240 to see a nobody.”
Another fan wrote, “A lady sitting next to me had waited 30 years to see Loverboy and was so upset she was in tears.”
One fan praised Fournier: “Who was that Steve guy? Maybe its time for Mike to retire the kid was great!”
Xfinity Arena’s marketing manager Ryan Hart said he’s been in the business for nine years and has never seen a performer fail to finish a show. He said the arena has been in contact with the band and the tour management company discussing ways to satisfy disappointed fans. He expected to have an answer by the end of this week.
“We’re trying to make it right for the guests who were here to attend the show,” Hart said.
In a review, Yesterdaze News blogger Diane Webb wrote, “All in all, it was completely entertaining and odd twist that allowed the audience to become a real part of their show. It wasn’t what anyone expected, but they made it work and I applaud them for persevering with the evening …”
Fournier said he knew many audience members left unhappy.
“A lot of people paid a lot of money to see Loverboy and Survivor and they were bummed, I understand that,” Fournier said. “But when you’re Mike Reno and you can’t sing, it’s very scary.”
Loverboy canceled a show the following night in Wenatchee.
Sad to say we won't be performing tonight at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee. Mike can't sing, got the flu…. https://t.co/JlmSFwh3bg
— Loverboy🎸 (@loverboyband) September 23, 2017
Fournier became a Loverboy fan when he was a kid. His older cousin had a couple of vinyl records, including “Get Lucky.” She played Fournier the music and he was hooked. He’s seen them in concert once before at Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.
Now he’s performed with the band.
“Mike Reno coming out there and taking his head band off and putting it on my head,” Fournier said. “That was quite surreal.”
He kept the bandana.
Fournier will be back in Snohomish County next month with his band Fever 103. They were already booked to perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Canoe’s Cabaret Room at Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip.
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @HBJnews.