I had the privilege of shooting a band I grew up with, whose music I listened to in the 70’s, and 80’s all the time. Classi Rock band, REO Speedwagon did not disappoint Saturday night at their sold out show at the Star Plaza Theater. The audience was filled with both the young, and the old. The band paid tribute to the Cubs’ World Series victory, and to Kevin Cronin’s mom. Kevin even dove into politics, and he made a speech about how no matter who you are voting for, it is important to go out and vote in the upcoming election. REO’s energy and engagement of the audience was from beginning to end.
The show started out with Don’t Let Him Go from their album Hi Infidelity. Kevin has an amazing voice, and his vibes filled the room. The audience got into it right from the start. He moved around the stage, making no one feel left out. The band’s interactions with the audience was amazing.
The band went right into a story about their song In Your Letter, where Neal Doughty came home to a “Dear John” letter from his wife leaving him. She left him for their “dealer.” Kevin went on to say that Neal said jokingly, “Man, I am really going to miss that guy.”
Things then really took off, and the band rocked out to Take It On The Run, Keep Pushing , and That Ain’t Love. The crowd did not miss a note, and joined in with all the songs.
The band slowed things down when Kevin made a heartfelt tribute to his mom. He brought her out on stage and sang Can’t Fight This Feeling. The crowd got very emotional, and it brought some tears to those around me. It was a beautiful moment for Kevin to share with his fans.
The band picked things up after that with Tough Guy, and a favorite of mine, Time for Me to Fly. Kevin talked about the Cubs winning the World Series, but he made sure to mention that he is a Sox fan. He later put on a Cubs jersey for a few songs.
Though the band played a long set they had a four song encore, and Kevin gave the final song of the night to lead guitarist Dave Amato. Kevin went on to tell us that Dave was going to play a song he used to play before he joined REO. I had a feeling it was going to be a Ted Nugent song, and I was right. The crowd got riled up and joined Dave in singing Strangle Hold.
Kevin’s hometown did not disappoint. The show was energetic, fun, lyrically great, and full of love from the fans of all generations. REO may have come out in the early years, but they still can sell out a show and kick butt putting on a concert! I am looking forward to next time they tour out this way.
Rock On REO!
If you aren’t familiar with REO check them out at http://www.speedwagon.com/
Photos and words by Diane Henning