REO Speedwagon – Shellabration 2011

If standing in the front row and meeting REO Speedwagon last summer was an incredible experience, then words will not be able describe my experience at this year’s Shellabration event in Fort Dodge, IA. However, with the help of some pictures, I will try to arrange words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into a way of expressing the amazing experience of building the stage and working security for the concert.

It all started on Friday at 8AM as many volunteers, including four friends and myself, took an empty Oleson Park Bandshell and created a large covered stage, decked out with your typical concert lighting and sound system. Saturday morning we helped load in REO Speedwagon’s equipment. From drums and risers, to guitars, amps, and Neal Doughty’s Hammond organ, we helped set up all of this equipment.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Oleson Park Bandshell: Friday Morning

Friday morning at 9:30

Oleson Park Bandshell: Saturday afternoon

Saturday afternoon at 3

Nearly 14 hours on Friday and several more on Saturday went into creating this event on-site, not including the many months of work that went on behind the scenes to organize personnel, advertisers, etc.

Rain was in the forecast for the night, but luckily for us, Mother Nature was an REO Speedwagon fan on this night as it turned out to be a beautiful night for a rock concert. The gates opened at 5:30 Saturday evening, and the local band Saucy Jack kicked off the show at 6 and HipKnosis took the stage around 7:30, and REO finally a little after 9:20.

REO in Fort Dodge

REO Speedwagon performing their 1981 #1 single, "Keep On Lovin' you"

REO Speedwagon played for about an hour and a half. Their set-list began with six songs from their chart topping 1981 album, Hi Infidelity, as they are celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the bands rise to stardom. “Don’t Let Him Go” was their opener, followed by their first #1 hit single “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “In Your Letter,” “Someone Tonight,” “Tough Guys,” and “Take it on the Run.” After wrapping up the Hi Infidelity nostalgia, they busted out other big hits including “Keep Pushin,” “Golden Country,” and their second #1 smash hit “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” 1970s rock songs “Son of a Poor Man” and “Like You Do” came next in the setlist, followed by “Time for Me to Fly,” “Back on the Road Again,” and my personal favorite “Roll With the Changes.” The band left the stage after rolling with the changes, only to come back for an encore including “Ridin’ the Storm Out” and their closer “157 Riverside Avenue.”

Anyone at the concert could have told you how the concert itself was, but not many experienced all I did before the concert and after. It was extremely neat to see exactly how much work goes into preparing for a concert this size, and we were rewarded after the show. Along with the four friends I brought, we all had the chance to meet the band backstage after the show for pictures and autographs. I had the chance to meet the band last August at the Iowa State Fair, but it was cool to see my friends have the same opportunity this time.

Words can only go so far in describing exactly what I had the chance to do, so here are several pictures from the two day extravaganza.

Our crew: Brant, Michael, Stevie, Aaron, and me

Starting to unload REO's equipment

Neal Doughty's Hammond Organ and keyboards

Kevin Cronin's guitars

Bruce Hall's bass picks

REO's tour bus, or THE REO Speedwagon

Kevin Cronin enjoying some HipKnosis

Kevin Cronin and Dave Amato

Imagine standing on stage with your all-time favorite band. Well, for half the concert, I was pretty dang close.

REO's bassist, Bruce Hall

Here I am standing with Kevin Cronin, REO's lead singer

If you want to see all of my pictures from Shellabration 2011, check them out on Facebook.

A lot of work went into getting this event off the ground (literally), but in the end, it was completely worth it. Before, during, and after the concert all had something special about them, and this will be a weekend I’ll remember forever.

Shellabration 2011 was a huge success as almost 6000 people made it to the concert, practically tying it with their previous record set back in 2005 when the Beach Boys were headlining. 30 years after striking gold with Hi Infidelity, REO Speedwagon is still rocking, and are still extremely good at it. I’ve heard nothing but good things from the concert, but that’s very common for an REO show.

My 2011 REO Speedwagon experience is in the books and I’ve now seen them three times, met them twice, and worked with them once. At the rate they’re still going, I may very well get to add to those totals over the next few years.

This REO Speedwagon concert as a whole was amazing, and hopefully my words and pictures truly show how amazing of an experience this really was. Until next time, keep pushin’.

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I should post something. Here it goes. Summer 2011.

It’s been over a month since I posted anything on here, so I figured I better post something for the heck of it. It seems that’s the way 2011 has gone for my blog. It certainly hasn’t seen as much action as Arnold “Former Governator and Womanizer” Schwarzenegger’s maids have seen. Stupid jokes aside, I’ve got some big things planned for this summer including working backstage at an REO Speedwagon coming up in less than three weeks! Along with that I’ll be seeing Poison and Motley Crue, and hopefully Def Leppard with Heart also.

I’m a big believer in the direct sales industry (as long as you pair yourself with a good company), so I’m going to try to post some things about my experience throughout the summer.

I feel a little better now that I’ve posted on here. Knowing REO is less than three weeks away, I can assure you I’ll post at least once more this month.

Thanks for checking out my blog!

The Elton John Experience – Sioux City

Saturday nights may be alright for fighting, but this Tuesday night was right for rocking as Elton John performed live in Sioux City for the very first time. In front of a packed house at the Tyson Event Center, Elton John showed his musical prowess to the over 8000 in attendance.

“It took us 41 years, but we finally made it here to Sioux City.”

Sir Elton and his band took to the stage just after 8:00 and rocked the house for nearly three hours with many classics including Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, Levon, Tiny Dancer, Philadelphia Freedom, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Daniel to Rocket Man and I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues. The midsection of the concert was dominated by his more recent music.

Sad Songs Say So Much, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Candle in the Wind, and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Bennie and the Jets, and The Bitch is Back led to the finale, Crocodile Rock. Elton and the band left for a few minutes until he came back to the stage, signed autographs at the front of the stage, and sat back down at the piano to play one last song. He thanked the crowd for coming to the show and said “This one’s for you,” a line from “Your Song.”

Aside from the classic hits and new songs, the most awe-inspiring moments were when he simply played his piano between songs. How anybody can be such a genius on the keys is yet to be seen, but his piano playing is second to none. He is simply amazing, and his voice still sounds great as well. Tickets weren’t exactly cheap, but everybody certainly got their money’s worth. It’s not everyday that someone gets to see a legend in the act.

I grew up listening to Elton John, so this concert really took me back to my childhood. My parents have told me stories of my four year old self listening to Elton John and singing along for hours on end. My nineteen year old self did just that last night. After meeting REO Speedwagon three days before moving to college, seeing Elton John a week before my freshman year of college wraps up is a great way to end the year.

From my seat in section 100, row H, seat 1, we had a great view of the action. Check out all my Elton John concert photos on Facebook.

My First Vlog

Now that spring break is over for me and I find myself sitting in my dorm room, I realized I’ve neglected my blog as of late. Just so I feel better about myself, I’m posting this blog now.

Over break, we finally got high speed internet at my house, and I felt that was a good reason to post a video blog from my basement bedroom about my basement bedroom. I posted it on Facebook last week, but now I’m posting it on here for the sake of posting something.

Without seeing my room, you probably know I’m a huge REO Speedwagon and NASCAR fan. After seeing this video, you will still know that I’m a huge fan of REO and NASCAR, it’s that simple. Anyway, here’s my first (of many, hopefully) vlog. Enjoy!

Wasn’t that just a wonderful way to spend 4 and a half minutes? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. It really wasn’t.

Is it Summer Yet?

It’s been over a month since I blogged about anything, but there is one thing that will always get me to blog; finding out that I’m going to an REO Speedwagon concert. I’ve seen REO live twice in the past two years, and I’ll get the chance to see them again on June 25, this time only an hour from where I’m from! REO Speedwagon is headlining the 10th anniversary of Shellabration in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

I saw REO at the Iowa State Fair this past summer and also saw Night Ranger and Grand Funk Railroad at the 2010 Shellabration, only this year I’ll be able to do both again at the same time. Tickets will be on-sale for $25 a piece for the next few months, so find out how to get your tickets here!

Well I figured I might as well post a little somethin’-somethin’ for you all, so here it is. Nothing like starting off 2011 with a little REO news, eh?

I’ll leave you with a video I put together from the last time I saw REO at the 2010 Iowa State Fair.

REO Speedwagon on DirecTV

REO Speedwagon performed at the 2010 Moondance Jam Rock Festival this summer, and for the first time, it was recorded for TV broadcast. A partnership between Blaze TV Production and DirecTV’s “101 Network” is bringing this festival into your home, but only if you have DirecTV. For more information about the Moondance Jam Rock Festival, Blaze TV, and DirecTV’s “101 Network,” click here.

If you’re like me and don’t have DirecTV but you love REO Speedwagon, I stumbled upon the videos from this broadcast as they were posted on Youtube by Rnastershake. Here they are! Enjoy.

Don’t Let Him Go

Keep On Lovin’ You

Take It On The Run

Like You Do

Can’t Fight This Feeling

Time For Me To Fly

Back On The Road Again

Roll With The Changes

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!

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(This post originated here.)