Back in about 1975 before the sold out arenas and number one hits, REO Speedwagon was a fixture across the Midwest. I grew up in Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. I remember one night REO was playing a show about 60 miles from my home in Missouri. As a 15 year old, I wanted to attend and hear “Ridin’ the Storm Out” live.
Mom and Dad said no, so immediately, REO Speedwagon became my favorite band. I purchased their albums, cassettes, their shirts, their hats, and their stickers. Most of that merchandise I still own today with a few CDs and DVDs added to the collection.
Two years later I saw my first REO Speedwagon concert live. They were performing at Summer Jam 77 in Kansas City, Missouri at Royals Stadium. I’ve seen them about 25 times live over the years from Kansas City to Columbia, Missouri, atop Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho, and in Billings, Montana, to Great Falls, Montana, to Three Forks, Montana, at the Rockin’ the Rivers music festival.
It was all good. REO Speedwagon performs better live than any band I have ever seen. Their songs performed live sound almost like the studio version. That’s the greatness of REO! You don’t hear that with today’s bands.
In 2010 REO performed live at the Moondance Jam in Walker, Minnesota, with 35,000 fans singing every word. It was an epic performance on a warm summer evening. The DVD/CD of the performance was released in late 2013. I got my hands on it in February 2014. Like after every other REO video, record, cassette, or DVD I’ve ever purchased, my night was planned.
The DVD has 13 tracks, which includes Don’t Let Him Go, Keep On Loving You, In Your Letter, Take It On The Run, Keep Pushin’, Golden Country, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Like You Do, Time For Me To Fly, Back On The Road Again, Roll With The Changes, Ridin’ The Storm Out, and 157 Riverside Avenue.
The DVD also included an interview with REO’s lead singer, Kevin Cronin. The CD contained the same songs. You can own the deluxe edition for around $15 – $20. It comes in a tri-fold case with an eight page color brochure with photos of the concert.
This live performance captured all that is REO Speedwagon – the energy and spirit that we’ve seen over the years was there – and these guys are all in their 60s! I was especially impressed with the energy displayed by founding member Neil Doughty. Drummer Bryan Hitt was on his game during the show. Kevin Cronin’s vocals are still strong, and bassist Bruce Hall’s vocals on “Back on the Road Again” were better than ever, and his bass playing has always been exceptional. Dave Amato ties it all together with his dazzling guitar playing.
In some town this year, REO Speedwagon will be performing. You need to be there.
Seriously – you need to be there!
If you can’t make it to an REO concert this year, buy the CD/DVD “Live at Moondance Jam” and invite your friends, your best girl, your kids, and take a trip back in time with REO Speedwagon. Warn your neighbors that your house is about to get loud, because REO is in town tonight!
REO Speedwagon Website: speedwagon.com