My REO Speedwagon Concert Experience

Me with REO's lead singer Kevin Cronin

There comes a time in many lives where someone meets their idol(s). Whether it be athletes, musicians, politicians, or whatever, the simple act of meeting a hero is a monumental moment in life. Well I had that chance this week.

On August 17, REO Speedwagon, along with Pat Benatar, made a stop at the Iowa State Fair as part of their 2010 “Love On The Run” tour.

I bought my tickets within minutes of them being released, so as my pictures will show, I had pretty good seats to say the least.

Pat Benatar, along with her husband Neil Giraldo, took the stage around 8:45 as the sun set behind her. Her hour plus performance was jam packed with her biggest hits including her opener “All Fired Up”, “We Belong”, “Love Is A Battlefield”, “Hell Is For Children”, “Promises In The Dark”, “Shadows Of The Night”, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”, and the song that she said put her on the map back in 1979, “Heartbreaker”.

While I obviously at this concert because of REO Speedwagon, I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by the now 57 year old rock star. Her vocals sound just as good now as they did back in her prime. Of course I wasn’t around in her prime, but from what I’ve heard, she’s still got it.

Her portion of the show wrapped up right at 10:00 and the stage crew began prepping the stage for the headliner of the night: REO Speedwagon.

No caption is necessary to show how awesome these guys are.

Just after 10:30, the lights dimmed as a 1980 “Hi Infidelity” album promo came over the sound system. This entire tour for REO is a bit of a

nostalgic one as their most prominent album, the aforementioned “Hi Infidelity”, was recorded 30 years ago. The promo ended as a 1980 radio DJ introduced a new single by REO Speedwagon called “Don’t Let Him Go”, the first track off the new record.

Bryan Hitt, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato, and Kevin Cronin took the stage. The show had begun.

They obviously opened Don’t Let Him Go, followed by their first ever #1 single, “Keep On Lovin’ You.” They followed those two up with “In Your Letter” and “Take It On The Run”, also off of this album, which turned out to be the best selling rock album of 1981.

They continued with a crowd favorites “Keep Pushin” and “Golden Country”. Now it was time to get the sold out crowd on their feet and singing. Their second ever #1 hit “Can’t Fight This Feeling” did just that.

They did some “Like You Do” from the mid 70s, some “Time For Me To Fly” and “Back On The Road Again” before “ending” the concert with my personal favorite “Roll With The Changes”. They all left the stage but for everyone familiar with and REO concert, there was more to come. After about 30 seconds of darkness, the band reappeared as Bryan Hitt banged the giant gong for all it was worth. A storm was brewing; it was time for some “Riding The Storm Out”. After surviving the storm of rock and power, a trip to “157 Riverside Avenue” was in store.

Bruce, Dave, and Kevin. And a hand.

Amazing lead vocals and harmonies, breathtaking guitar solos by Dave Amato, massive bass slappage from Bruce Hall, stunning organ and keyboard work by the band’s founder Neal Doughty, and simply amazing drumming by the “Hitt Man.” They rocked and they rolled, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

My second REO Speedwagon concert adventure was in the books, but the fun wasn’t completely through. By knowing the right person, I obtained a meet and greet pass to do just that after the show with the band. It was nearly 12:30 when they finally let us backstage, but the wait certainly didn’t disappoint me.

I first got my picture taken with Neal Doughty and got his autograph, followed by Bryan Hitt, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato, and finally the lead singer Kevin Cronin. To my surprise, Kevin had heard of me before! He referred to me as the “little rock radio dude.” I didn’t disagree .

If you’re interested in seeing my pictures from the REO portion of the concert (which I

Neil and Pat

know you are), go for it! For you Pat Benatar fans out there, click here!

The 70s and 80s have come and gone as times have changed, but the Illinois based REO Speedwagon has proven once again, that they can indeed roll with the changes. And I love it!


One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Don, Nick Brincks. Nick Brincks said: My REO Speedwagon Concert Experience: […]

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