Live And Unzoomed Takes Fans Back To The Best Of Times

Concert Review
REO Speedwagon
St. Joseph’s Health
Amphitheater At Lakeview
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

They say great rock ‘n’ roll is timeless but in some cases critics may say the music sounds like it has not aged well. Let’s go with the former when talking about the Live and Unzoomed participants. Styx, REO Speedwagon and Loverboy have amassed 14 platinum studio albums, 14-Top 10 smash hits and 38-Top 40 songs between them. No wonder this date was added on after the initial tour announcement as the demand was there as evidenced by the near capacity house out at St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater Friday evening.

Loverboy got the night started with a larkish set featuring such classics like “Lucky Ones”, “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” and their highest charting single “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It”. The band still includes original members vocalist Mike Reno, guitarist Paul Dean, keyboardist Doug Johnson and drummer Matt Frenette. Bassist Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve has been playing with Loverboy since 2001. A solid set by the band closed with perhaps the band’s biggest songs “Turn Me Loose” and “Working For The Weekend”. The lone blemish from their set was the omission of “When It’s Over” which in my estimation would have gone over huge.

REO Speedwagon was up next and boy did they turn up the heat during their 70-minute performance. Hard to imagine that this band has not had to roll with any changes since 1989. Guitarist Dave Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt both joined that year and have been in the band ever since. The core of the band vocalist Kevin Cronin, bassist Bruce Hall and keyboardist Neal Doughty have been together since 77′ when Hall signed on replacing original bassist Gregg Philbin. For all the changes the band has endured early on in their career it is quite a feat. Cronin’s introduction to “Can’t Fight This Feeling” featured an introduction to Doughty who is the only member to play every Reo Speedwagon concert as well as play on every album.

The band did not just stick to the hits which made me really take notice as they pulled “Live Every Moment”, a truly outstanding track culled from the Wheels Are Turnin’ album. Other notable songs which usually do not get played as much were “Like You Do” and “That Ain’t Love”. It was good to see the band mix things up with all the great songs they have in their arsenal that do not get played much such as “Only The Strong Survive” or “Say You Love Me Or Goodnight”. Overall a great set that left the impression that although Cronin just turned 70 recently, they have no intention to go off into the sunset anytime soon.

Closing out the Syracuse show on this night was Styx. Touring in support of the 2021 album Crash of the Crown, the band’s set reflected five cuts from the critically acclaimed release. Those who have seen the band over recent years can attest that these guys are getting better with age. Like a fine wine it is amazing to see these guys put on stellar show after stellar show. At this point James “JY” Young and bassist Chuck Panozzo remain the longest tenured members of the band. While Panozzo does not play full time with the band he does pop up at various shows (like he did tonight). The secret to the band’s current success remains with its two main vocalists in Tommy Shaw and Lawrence Gowan. With Gowan handling the back catalog without missing a beat his contributions to the recent albums also are very important. Ever since Shaw joined in 1975, the fans knew how talented he was and the proof shows as he has written some of the most important songs for the band. Shaw’s stamp is all over Pieces Of Eight with such gems as “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “Renegade”.

It was quite a compelling set as the band managed to mix in songs like “Light Up”, “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” and even “Mr. Roboto” beside the new material and it seemed to fit like a glove. The band also added Will Evankovich last year as the seventh member. Those who may have caught the Shaw-Blades tour from 2007 may remember Evankovich as the third member to help augment the sound. Evankovich also helped produce the last two Styx albums.

This tour has done some interesting numbers and shows that while these bands were at one time household names in the early 80’s they have never totally lost their appeal. The idea to package these bands together was a great choice. After witnessing this show it appears that these bands have plenty of gas still in the tank.


Reo Speedwagon


Loverboy Set List
Lucky Ones
Queen of the Broken Hearts
The Kid Is Hot Tonite
Lovin’ Every Minute of It
Hot Girls in Love
Turn Me Loose
Working for the Weekend

REO Speedwagon Set List
Don’t Let Him Go
Take It on the Run
Keep Pushin’
Live Every Moment
That Ain’t Love
Tough Guys
Can’t Fight This Feeling
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

Styx Set List
The Fight of Our Lives
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
Crash of the Crown
Light Up
Sound the Alarm
Rockin’ the Paradise
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
Save Us From Ourselves
Too Much Time on My Hands
Lost at Sea
Come Sail Away

Mr. Roboto

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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