REO Speedwagon w/Styx | 07.02.17

Now, each band proves why they have been so popular for so long…..it’s in their live shows.

Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, St. Louis

Ahh, summertime: the time of year when music fans are treated to big tours. This summer is starting out on a rockin’ note. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre hosted the United We Rock Tour featuring heavy hitters REO Speedwagon with very special guests Styx.

This was a great package, with hit song after hit song. Two bands that complement each other perfectly, playing on the same bill. Since the 1970’s, both bands have become household names, and a staple on classic rock radio stations. The 80’s were even kinder to Styx and REO, with many major Top 40 hits throughout the decade.

Now, each band proves why they have been so popular for so long…..it’s in their live shows. Their performance takes the concert goer back to another place and time…perhaps their high school days, or evokes memories long forgotten.

First up was Styx. Hailing from Chicago, the band formed in 1972, and no one ever thought they would still be rocking the world some 40 years later. The band, whose line up has changed over the years (notably, the departure of vocalist Dennis DeYoung), took a small hiatus, then, with Tommy Shaw re-joining the group, Styx was back.

Now, after 13 years, four consecutive multi-platinum albums and 16 top 40 singles, the band have unleashed a new concept album. Titled The Mission, the release is a concept album about a mission to Mars. Playing just a couple of new tunes, the band stuck to the hits. Songs like “Blue Collar Man”, The Grand Illusion” and their mega hit. “Too Much Time on My Hands “had the crowd roaring after each song. Closing with their 1970’s hit “Renegade”, the audience were on their feet, singing every word. Make no mistake about it, this band, after 40 years, still rocks.

 

Next came REO Speedwagon. With hit tracks going back to the mid-70s and coming to a multi-platinum head in the 80’s, REO have sold over 40 million records, and their live show explains their success. Their 1980 album, HI Fidelity sold over 10 million copies alone, spawning several hit singles. Since they have not released a new album in years, they have enough hit songs to carry them through. Vocalist Kevin Cronin’s pipes have not changed since their heyday. On songs like “Keep on Loving You”, Time for Me to Fly” and “Tough Guys”, the band were articulate in delivery. With as many hits as REO has enjoyed, it’s difficult to get them all in one set.

Opening the night’s entertainment was Don Felder. A wicked guitarist, the Former Eagle plays just about every song an Eagles fan would want to hear. From the rich harmonies of “Seven Bridges Road” to the hard rock feel of “Heavy Metal”( from the movie soundtrack),Felder still keeps things hot on stage. Joined by Tommy Shaw for a song or two, the band was incredible. A great opener for such a tour.

Overall, a great show for those into nostalgia. A rocking night under the stars.

Marc Farr

 

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