United We Rock Tour, Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre, Chicago

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Both REO and Styx brought nostalgia back to life for a packed crowd.

It was a sweaty night in Chicago, and the bands only turned it up as the night went on.

I managed to hit some traffic on my way to the show and came in a bit late only to catch the tail-end of Don Felder’s set.  He capped it off with a cover of ‘Hotel California’ complete with members of both REO and Styx.  The crowd sat in their seats in the covered pavilion and sang the unforgettable lyrics along with him.  It was a great ending to what I am sure was an excellent set.  

REO Speedwagon hit the stage quickly after Felder.  The crowd cheered and erupted with excitement.  It was great to see such a legendary band still rocking through all of these years.  Their live show was more energetic than I expected.  They took turns walking out onto the catwalk to strut their stuff and jam out while engaging the crowd.  Frontman Kevin Cronin’s voice is still as strong as ever.  Throughout his set he shared with the crowd some of the reasons they were playing specific songs and how the band felt they tied into the current climate of our country.   Dave Amato kept the stage sizzling with his solos and stage presence.  Bruce Hall tore it up on the bass.  He chugged along with the heavily melodic rifts. Carrying the beat was Bryan Hitt.  He sat at his throne with an amazingly thick head of hair and rocked hard.   Interestingly the only original member is their keyboardist – Neal Doughty. He kept it classy on the keyboard and moved back and forth to the piano for a few songs.  Overall their set was really great.  They played their classic hits that kept the crowd engaged and singing along but also dug deep into their playlist. 

The night closed off with hometown heroes Styx. Hailing from a garage on the Southside of Chicago in the late 60’s / early 70’s,  Styx introduced me to the prog rock genre as I was growing up.  My mom and others in her family were big fans.  They kicked off their set with ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ and drove right into ‘Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)’.  They continued to play hit after hit and showcasing some new material off their latest release of The Mission in June of this year.  Before playing ‘Fooling Yourself’ Tommy Shaw introduced founding member Chuck Panozzo on bass.  Chuck still plays with Styx from time to time, and tonight we were treated to his presence.  Shortly after the band took a small break minus lead vocals and keyboardist Lawrence Gowan.  Gowan’s voice is still magical and can he showed off for the crowd a bit by playing some of his keyboard parts turned away from the instrument.  With the stage to himself he played a new song ‘Khedive’ that allowed him to share his strong piano skills.  Gowan then carried the crowd through the first half of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen and directly into ‘Golden Slumbers’ by the Beatles.  The band rejoined Gowan on stage and started the intro to ‘Come Sail Away’.  This is probably my favorite Styx song, mostly due to its heavy inclusion in the first episode of the tv series Freaks and Geeks.  The closed the song and left stage only to return moments later for their encore.  They played two more songs ending with their chart topping song ‘Renegade’.  

Both REO and Styx are bands that managed to stand tall against the test of time.  They both may have had their ups and downs in the last 40 years, but I can attest that they still can rock your face in concert.  Make sure to get out and see these bands before it’s too late.  Styx tour dates are here and REO’s here.  Check their set lists below along with links to them on spotify.

REO Speedwagon – Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre – 7/1/2017 

  1. Don’t Let Him Go
  2. Keep Pushin’
  3. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  4. Tough Guys
  5. Whipping Boy
  6. That Ain’t Love
  7. Golden Country
  8. Building the Bridge
  9. Take It on the Run
  10. Time for Me to Fly
  11. Back on the Road Again
  12. Ridin’ the Storm Out
  13. Keep On Loving You
  14. Roll With the Changes

STYX – Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre – 7/1/2017

  1. Gone, Gone, Gone
  2. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
  3. The Grand Illusion
  4. Lady
  5. Light Up
  6. Radio Silence
  7. Miss America
  8. Too Much Time on My Hands
  9. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
  10. Khedive
  11. Bohemian Rhapsody
  12. Golden Slumbers
  13. Come Sail Away
  14. Rockin’ the Paradise
  15. Renegade
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