Filled Blossom As Styx, REO And
Kevin REO Speedwagon
Mike and Paul Loverboy
Paul Dean Loverboy
Kevin REO Speedwagon
June 3, 2022
This past Wednesday night, 12,000 classic rock fans were literally "Riding The Storm Out" as they showed up at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. A magnificent lineup of Loverboy, REO Speedwagon, and Styx filled the night air with all of the hits you expected, and more.
Opening the gates an hour late because of the thunder and lightning, many fans did not get through security and the long lines to see the opening set by Loverboy. Because of the curfew at Blossom, the setlist was cut by 3 songs, but the 5 that they played were amazing. Having first seen Loverboy back in 1986 at Blossom, aside from a few years, gray hair, and a few extra pounds, these guys still know how to entertain. Mike Reno's voice is still strong, Paul Dean's guitar is still tight, Doug Johnson's keyboard playing is solid, Matt Frenette's drumming carried the band, and the addition of Spider Sinnaeve on bass 20 years ago, rounds out this powerhouse of a band.
The shortened set was everything you could ask for. "The Kid Is Hot Tonite," "Lovin' Every Minute Of It," "Hot Girls In Love," "Turn Me Loose," and "Working For The Weekend" had the half-full pavilion on its feet the entire time. These guys appeared to enjoy what they were doing, and the crowd approved.
Next up were REO Speedwagon. Having only seen them back in April of 1981, I wasn't sure what to expect. All expectations were exceeded in so many ways. These guys came to play, to entertain, and to have a great time, and that is exactly what they did!
With Neal Doughty on keyboards, he is the only member to play on every REO album, and only member to play every single REO show. He was given many chances to shine throughout the night. Kevin Cronin has sang lead since the mid 1970's, as well as Bruce Hall on bass. Dave Amato joined in 1989 on lead guitar, and these three frontmen cruised around the stage, and interacted with the audience all night. Bryan Hitt was a powerhouse on drums, and was an anchor behind his kit.
Opening with "Music Man," this band came to play. Kevin's vocals were crisp and clean on every song. "Take It On The Run," "Tough Guys." Don't Let Him Go," "Keep On Loving You" all stood out. They also played the first song Kevin ever learned with the band, "Like You Do." The band had to play "Riding The Storm Out," and dedicated it to the Blossom faithful. Closing their set with "Roll With The Changes," the audience was one with this band. I cannot figure out why I waited over 40 years to experience this band a second time.
Headlining tonight was Styx. These guys always play their hearts out! James Young has been a part of this band forever with Tommy Shaw joining in 1974. I remember seeing these guys open for Aerosmith in 1977 on the Grand Illusion Tour, and have seen them many times over the years. Some of the players have changed, but this group of musicians is just as good now as they were then. Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips, Wil Evankovich, and Todd Sucherman round out this six-piece band, and they are good!
Songs from the past, "The Grand Illusion," "Lady," "Light Up," and "Come Sail Away," were all played, as well as more recent songs. Opening the set with "The Fight Of Our Lives," from their 2021 release, "Crash Of The Crown," this song stood up with the older hits. Ending the night with a solid encore of "Mr. Roboto" and "Renegade," the crowd was definitely glad they braved the weather, and made it to Blossom this amazing evening.
Review and photos by Dave Whitman