Live Gig Review and Article Photos by: Robert Cavuoto
REO Speedwagon is currently out on tour supporting Def Leppard for their 2016 Summer Tour with Tesla. REO Speedwagon is the perfect musical fit among these seminal rockers.
If you recall REO Speedwagon had a huge impact on the music and the culture of rock and roll in the 1980s; their album Hi Infidelity produced four hit singles, sold ten million records and remained on the charts for 65 weeks, 15 of which were spent at #1, a feat not likely to be attained in music today.
The thing that struck me out of the gate about tonight’s performance was the tremendous camaraderie between the members, Kevin Cronin on vocals/guitar/piano, Dave Amato on guitarist, Bruce Hall on bass, Neal Doughty on keyboard, and Bryan Hitt on drums all played off of each other nicely and each received their time in the spot light during the show.
Kevin owned the stage and showed the fans he is charismatic front man with his tremendous vocal, guitar and piano abilities. His voice sounded phenomenal like listening to the CD’s recorded so long ago. The wide open stage provided him and the band and plenty of room to entertain the fans on all sides of the venue.
I was completely impressed with Dave’s guitar playing; armed with multiple Gibson Les Paul his playing emotes passion with every lead and really gives the band a heavier edge. It shook my foundation in thinking that REO Speedwagon was only about ballads! Dave is truly an underrated guitarist with some serious chops.
During the performance, there was a nice mix of hits coupled with some of the band’s rarer songs for the die hard fans in attendance. Stand out tunes included “Ridin the Storm Out,” “Take it on the Run,” “Time for Me to Fly,” and “Roll with the Changes” that featured Kevin at the grand piano. The song that brought down the house as expected was, “Can’t Fight this Feeling” as Kevin shared a story with the crowd that if his heart didn’t get broken, the world would never have that song!
Mid-way through the set bassist, Bruce Hall, took reign of the vocals as Kevin called Bruce the “band’s secret weapon” and did a fantastic version of “Back on the Road Again” from their 1979 LP, Nine Lives.
After Wednesday night’s show I think most in attendance would agree REO Speedwagon still embraces the fun and excitement it did decades ago.