–by Sean Derrick
Classic Rock stalwarts Styx and REO Speedwagon are in the very early stages of their “Live and Unzoomed Tour” with Loverboy, but when they played Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Friday for only the 3rd show of the tour they already seemed in mid-tour form.
This isn’t the first time these two iconic bands have toured together. In fact, this tour marks the 6th such tour since their 2000 co-headlining tour, which bore the double live album Arch Allies: Live From Riverport. The name of the venue might have changed (a couple times), but the energy and magic these two bands create for a live show hasn’t.
And looking at the gate receipts of a sold-out St. Louis crowd (along with many other stops selling out or close to it), why would they break from what works? Besides, Styx and REO Speedwagon are a perfect match to co-headline tours with. Their music and stage presence compliment each other’s beautifully.
The last time the toured together was in 2018, so it seemed like the time was right to team up again. The jam-packed crowd sure thought so, too.
After a rockin’ 40-minute set from Loverboy Styx came out to the opening track to their latest album Crash of the Crown, a short (under 2 minutes) rocker that has some intelligence to it (as bassist Ricky Phillips told us in a recent interview) then ran right into “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and showing us immediately that Guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw hasn’t lost a step, or a leap.
Tommy Shaw is an ageless little ball of energy who is larger than life every time he on stage. It’s hard to believe this dude is 68.
Vocalist/Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan was his usual showman style, spinning the keyboard and playing behind his back while singing perfect pitch.
Styx added their producer and co-writer from Crash of the Crown and The Mission, Will Evankovich, as a 7th touring member to give extra vocal harmonies and depth, along with more depth with another guitar. The effect has paid off as the already rich sounds of their songs get an extra kick live. I have always loved “Mr. Roboto” and am super excited that they have brought it back again this tour, but damn, this show seemed to give that song a harder edge to it. I have seen videos from other cities from past few years, and I know it doesn’t do it justice, but I swear this show had a little more kick to that song, and it was fabulous.
Top to bottom a solid kick-ass set from a band that seems to get better as they age.
Founding member Chuck Panozzo is on the tour and came out and played a handful of songs at the end. Good to see he is doing well and still contributing.
Fellow Illinoisans REO Speedwagon had the pressure of following Styx’s 13 song set with their own13 song set, and they brought the big guns and energy to back it up.
REO Speedwagon have been together a bit longer than STYX, but not by much, and have publicly stated it was with help from the St. Louis fans and local rock station KSHE95 that pushed them to the success they have. Vocalist Kevin Cronin was quick to reiterate that point again Friday night.
Cronin also referenced their first St. Louis show 50 years ago in 1972 at the old Kiel Auditorium and remembered the first song they played here was “Like You Do” then promptly jammed an 8-minute version of the song for the fans. I mean, that is what they do. The song is already over 6 1/2 minutes long, but REO Speedwagon loves to jam, and they continued that trend Friday.
While the lineup was in flux in the early 1970’s the band (Cron – guitar/vocals, Neal Doughty – Keyboards, Bruce Hall – bass, Dave Amato – lead guitar, and Bryan Hitt – drums) haven’t had any member changes since 1989. (I would like to hear another album from these guys, considering it has been since 2007’s Find Your Own Way Home since we had any new REO music. Much to long for this great band.
All three bands were tight and sounded great. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young this is a must-see tour to catch if you want high energy classic rock with beautiful harmonics and excellent stage presence. The tour runs through August 21.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery of the night after the set lists below.
REO Speedwagon/Styx Tour Dates:
DATE CITY VENUE CLOSER
Tue 6/7 Milwaukee, WI American Family Insurance Amp. REO Speedwagon
Wed 6/8 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre Styx
Fri 6/10 Noblesville, IN Ruoff Music Center REO Speedwagon
Sat 6/11 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center Styx
* Mon 6/13 Rogers, AR Walmart Amphitheatre REO Speedwagon
Tue 6/14 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre REO Speedwagon
Fri 6/17 Alpharetta, GA Ameris Bank Amphitheatre Styx
Sat 6/18 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amp. REO Speedwagon
Sun 6/19 West Palm Beach, FL iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre Styx
Fri 7/8 Denver, CO Ball Arena Styx
Sat 7/9 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre REO Speedwagon
Tue 7/12 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre REO Speedwagon
Wed 7/13 Ridgefield, WA RV Inn Style Resorts Amp. Styx
Fri 7/15 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre Styx
Sat 7/16 Irvine, CA FivePoint Amphitheatre REO Speedwagon
Tue 7/19 Chula Vista, CA North Island Credit Union Amp. Styx
Wed 7/20 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion REO Speedwagon
Fri 7/22 Austin, TX Germania Insurance Amp. Styx
Sat 7/23 Dallas, TX Dos Equis Pavilion Styx
Sun 7/24 Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion REO Speedwagon
Fri 8/5 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amp. REO Speedwagon
Sat 8/6 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion Styx
Mon 8/8 Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheater Styx
Wed 8/10 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park REO Speedwagon
Fri 8/12 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live REO Speedwagon
Sat 8/13 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion Styx
Tue 8/16 Toronto, ONT. Budweiser Stage Styx
Wed 8/17 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center REO Speedwagon
Fri 8/19 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center Styx
Sat 8/20 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center Styx
Sun 8/21 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater REO Speedwagon
The Fight of Our Lives
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
Crash of the Crown
Sound the Alarm
Rockin’ the Paradise
Foolin’ Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Too Much Time on My Hands
Come Sail Away
REO Speedwagon Setlist:
Take It on the Run
Live Every Moment
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Like You Do
Don’t Let Him Go
Time for Me to Fly
Back on the Road Again
Ridin’ the Storm Out
Keep On Loving You
Roll With the Changes