REO Speedwagon is “Back on the Road Again” for a co-headline tour with Styx and special guest Loverboy. Without a doubt one of the hottest tours of the summer has these three 80’s Juggernauts delivering the goods every night. Dubbed “Unzoomed and Live” this megatour hit the Fivepoint Amphitheater in Irvine, CA Saturday night July 16 for an amazing summer night of rock n roll.
Loverboy kicked things off a little before 7:00pm to a PACKED house and Mike Reno and the boys got the entire crowd on their feet early on rocking out to classics such as “Lucky Ones” and “The Kid is Hot Tonite”. Reno sounds fantastic – spot on and the remainder of the band (all original members except bass player Ken Sinnaeve) has not lost a step after all these years. Guitarist Paul Dean has hardly aged, and his licks are as sharp as ever.
Of course, the band ended their set with the mega-hits “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend” to a massive applause – Irvine was indeed “Hot Tonight” at this point with Styx coming up next.
Tommy Shaw, James “J.Y.” Young, Lawrence Gowen, Ricky Phillips, Todd Sucherman and Will Evankovich hit the stage with larger-than-life smiles and took the Irvine faithful on a magical musical journey over the next 75 minutes. The night began with “The Fight of Our Lives” and then into the fan favorite “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)”. At this point not a single person was seated and Fivepoint Amphitheater was ready to rock.
Shaw addressed the crowd, Gowan introduced the band, original bass player Chuck Panozzo made an appearance and played on a few songs. Styx has the rockers, the mid-tempo classics and the slower ballads – something for everyone and everyone remembers hearing these songs on the radio in the 70’s and 80’s.
The highlight of the night without a doubt was the end of their set which consisted of the amazing “Mr. Roboto” – YES the band started playing this song live again a few years ago and the fans LOVE and I mean LOVE it!! Then Mr. Panozzo made another appearance for the last song of the set “Renegade” – the perfect way to end their time on stage . . . Shaw still sounds amazing and Gowen’s voice is beyond mesmerizing. Styx ROCKED SoCal once again.
Well playing after Loverboy then Styx (REO and Styx are rotating closing on this tour), may be a tough act to follow for some bands but REO Speedwagon was up for the challenge. The venue remained packed and REO Speedwagon took the stage with “Music Man” and proceeded to deliver a high energy rock n roll show. Kevin Cronin – is this guy really 70 years old – no way, his voice is crisp and right on point and he has more energy than musicians half his age. Guitarist Dave Amato is one of the best in the business and bass player Bruce Hall along with drummer Bryan Hitt (yes a drummer has the last name of Hitt – classic) are a fierce rhythm section and Neal Doughty on keyboards remains the longest tenured band member.
“Can’t Fight this Feeling” and “Riding the Storm Out” were obvious fan favorites and the band ended their set with the huge hit “Keep on Loving You” then the rocker “Roll with the Changes”. There is no better way to spend a summer night in Southern California than rocking out with these three classic bands from the most exciting era of music.
This amazing tour makes its way across the USA and into Canada through August and wraps up in early September – If you have “Too Much Time on Your Hands”, don’t be “Working for the Weekend” and “Live Every Moment” you can by catching this tour!!!