The classic rock double bill featuring Styx and REO Speedwagon rolled into Seneca Niagara last night. It seems whenever these two bands tour together the fans are the ones who win. Both bands tend to play their greatest hits and they also throw in some old golden gems that people almost forgot about.
Styx were up first and opened their set with “Gone Gone Gone” a new song from their first studio album in some fourteen years, The Mission. It wasn’t too long before that familiar keyboard intro to “Blue Collar Man” came signifying that it was time for everyone to get out of their seats.
The current line-up of Styx is a well oiled machine., one that has been together now for close to fifteen years. With guitarists and vocalists Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young leading the charge with vocalist as well as keyboardist Lawrence Gowan, these guys don’t miss a beat. How can you with the rhythm section that features the talents of bassist Ricky Phillips and drummer extraordinaire Todd Sucherman?
Other highlights from the band’s all too brief 75-minute set featured “Lady” and the celebratory “Light Up” which were the oldest songs in the set dating back to 1973 and 1975 respectively. The band also played new song “Radio Silence” a gem from The Mission. You will be hearing this song more frequently as it is the standout track from the new album.
The band saved their best for last as “Come Sail Away” closed out the main set. Back for the encore an animated Gowan led the band through a spirited “Rockin’ The Paradise” before they ended with Shaw’s chef-d’oeuvre, “Renegade”.
So on this night REO Speedwagon was given the difficult task to follow Styx. Not an easy thing to do with Styx being so on top of their game. REO is very similar to Styx in their current lineup has been together for a long time. The current ensemble of REO goes back to 1989 when drummer Bryan Hitt and guitarist Dave Amato joined Kevin Cronin, Bruce Hall and founder Neal Doughty.
The band’s traditional opening song “Don’t Let Him Go” started the affair. From there the band simply stuck to the formula of playing their hits while sprinkling in gems like early songs “Keep Pushin’,” and ultra rare “Like You Do” the latter dating back to Cronin’s first album with the band 1972s REO T.W.O.
For the past few years the band has played new song “Whipping Boy”, which they have not gotten around to recording yet. Cronin promised someday it would be. They also spiced up “That Ain’t Love” giving it a unique rendition.
REO ended their set with one hit after another. “Time For Me To Fly”, “Back On The Road Again” featuring the mighty Bruce Hall on lead vocals and the band’s classic “Ridin’ The Storm Out”.
One thing is certain when these two bands get together for a tour, they deliver each and every time. The bands give everything they have and leave everything on the stage. No one leaves the show disappointed because of the commitment the bands have to deliver each and every time out. That could be why these bands get along with each other so well.
Gone Gone Gone
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Too Much Time On My Hands
Bohemian Rhapsody/Golden Slumbers
Come Sail Away
Rockin’ The Paradise
Don’t Let Him Go
Can’t Fight This Feeling
That Ain’t Love
Take It On The Run
Like You Do
Time For Me To Fly
Back On The Road Again
Ridin’ The Storm Out
Keep On Loving You
Roll With The Changes