Starlight Theater, Kansas City, MO
May 10th 2013
It was right at 20 years ago that I saw REO Speedwagon last. I went with my mom who wanted to see them so off we went to the Civic Auditorium in Omaha, NE to see REO with Cheap Trick. It wasn’t too long before a fellow concert partaker promptly came up to me in front of my mother and begged me to sell him some drugs. I chuckled and told him to “get lost!” He came right back with, “come on dude, it’s cool! Hook me up!” Now I’m thinking to myself, no way my mom is going to believe that I’m not dealing drugs let alone figure that I’m not doing them myself. Fast forward 20 years, I found myself at Starlight Theater seeing a band that I have been listening to for over 30 years and was ready to see how they sound after all these years.
Lots of band members have come and gone and came back to REO over the years, but Neal Doughty, on the keyboard, is the only founding member that remains in the band today. Kevin Cronin, who is the recognizable voice of REO, joined in the early 70’s, has remained the frontman as well as songwriter of some of their biggest hits. Bruce Hall, who joined in the late 70’s and remains in the band today, is in command of the bass and has a big presence with his vocals. The late 80’s brought both Dave Amato (on lead guitar and vocals) as well as Bryan Hitt (on the drums) to round out todays version of REO Speedwagon.
When REO came on stage they went right to the late 70’s and 80’s hits like, “Keep on Loving You,” “Riding the Storm Out,” “Don’t Let Him Go,” “Golden Country,” “Can't Fight This Feeling,” just to name a few. I have to admit that I didn’t really have high hopes that Kevin would still have the vocal strength like when I saw him 20 years ago, he quickly assured me that at 60 plus years old, he still sounds damn good! There were a couple notes that he didn’t hit spot on but without a doubt he sounded great, I was very impressed! The whole band was very energetic, they really seemed to be having a good time and played to the crowd very well. After REO left the stage I had a guy come up to me and say how much he enjoyed REO’s set, I had to agree with him, I look forward to the next chance I get to see them live!
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