Photo By: Seth A. Kahaian
When a friend hooked me up with some tickets to this show I was extremely happy about it. With the exception of Sweaty Teddy, I haven’t seen REO or Styx since the eighties. I was looking forward to this show. Not only was I going to a rock event I was going with a friend that I hadn’t been to a show with yet. Ok, onto the show. When we got to the arena, might I add that Mohegan Sun is one of the better venues to see an event at, easy in and out, things to do, great place. Based on the billing we thought it was going to be Styx/REO/Nugent, but it was in reverse The doors opened at 7 p.m. (or so we thought) and we decided that we would grab something to eat and also figured that there would be a opening act. We were wrong on both accounts. We got in the arena around twenty past seven and as we were walking to our seats Ted Nugent was ending Cat Scratch Fever and going into his love for America and the Military rant. Needless to say we were a little upset. What happened to the days of doors open and you get a half hour, but I digress. At least we got to see him do Stranglehold and as always it rocked the place.
Here’s Sweaty Teddy playing the blues from this show. He is a very underrated guitar player and is truly one of the greats of all time in my book.
Photo By: Seth A. Kahaian
I was truly excited to see REO Speedwagon. It’s been awhile and until this night, I forgot how great they were live as well as how they sounded. I actually wished they could play longer. It’s not very often when you go to a concert and the audience sings along with all the words to every song. I still feel and this confirmed it for me, that Kevin Cronin is one of the best front men in rock. I am serious when I say that. He commands his audience in a way that makes you feel like you are part of the family. He is a great storyteller and gets the crowd moving and his energy level on stage is non stop. They brought back a truly old one in Golden Country and I was surprised how many people knew the song and sang it. I didn’t expect that, especially since it was from deep in their catalog. But once they hit their stride with songs like Time For Me To Fly and ending with their traditional Riding The Storm Out that was what a concert should be all about. We were wanting more and in my opinion they should have been the headliner. If they come your way, go see them and treat yourself – you won’t be disappointed.
Here is REO Speedwagon doing one of my all time favorite songs, Time For Me To Fly. Listen to the audience and how clear the song is. Amazing to see and hear live.
When Styx took the stage and you heard Blue Collar Man, the place erupted. They rolled right into the Grand Illusion and didn’t give the fans a chance to catch their breath. I was curious how they would be without Dennis De Young and all I can say is Dennis who? Lawrence Gowan is fantastic and did a great job! Before Come Sail Away, he was talking with the crowd about how music was the international language for everyone. He proved by starting to sing verses from songs like Queen and Zep and everyone finished the whole verse for them, I must say that was pretty cool. I never experienced that before. Tommy Shaw was doing the hosting of the show in between songs and telling stories.
Before Fooling Yourself, Tommy Shaw talked about how the band started and to our surprise brought out the original bassist Chuck Ponazzo to play and the crowd went crazy again. That was a treat. He played on and off for the rest of the set. Musically they were right on target and put on a great show. My only complaint is when you see a triple bill, co headlining bill, etc, what you gain in seeing you lose in set lists. They are all way too short. Other than that, I would see them again and I was rather impressed, especially with Lawrence Gowan, since he had some pretty big shoes to fill. If the Midwest Rock And Roll Express makes a stop in your area, make sure you go on for the ride. You will be glad you did.
that Lawrence Gowan has amazing voice and he actually makes you forget that Dennis De Young is no longer in the band. You can also hear the crowd and how great they sound. Fantastic song and show!