“It’s gonna take more than a chance of showers to put this show off,” REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin told an Ohio crowd last night. “We are here and ready to rock!”
He was certainly putting a positive spin on what had been a challenging few hours leading up to showtime: Thunderstorms rolled through the area, leaving flooded roads and felling a massive nearby tree. Some concertgoers were forced to seek an alternate route after it blocked one of the main pathways into the venue.
But classic rock fans are a resilient bunch. Styx and REO Speedwagon were greeted with a packed pavilion and lawn as they hit the stage for their respective sets at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. You can see exclusive photos from the concert below.
The second night of the Live and UnZoomed tour also featured Loverboy, who were forced to shorten their set by three songs due to the weather. That wasn’t the only change on the heels of opening night: Styx mixed in different material from their Crash of the Crown album, including a potent rendering of the title track that they paired with “Light Up” from 1975’s Equinox for a nice double shot of prog rock.
Both Styx and REO also gave nods to their respective 50-year milestones. Cronin, looking relaxed in a T-shirt and black jeans, reached back for “Like You Do” from his first album with the band, 1972’s R.E.O/ T.W.O. He also paid tribute to keyboardist Neal Doughty, a founding member of the group, as “the only person alive who has been on stage for every single REO show in our 50-plus year history.”
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Meanwhile, Styx’s Tommy Shaw offered a pair of tributes, first remembering the two Panozzo brothers who “fought like hell” but “loved music” and eventually built Styx from the ground up. Drummer John Panozzo passed away in 1996, while bassist Chuck Panozzo still performs with the group from time to time – including last night. He emerged to a flurry of cheers, joining in on the Styx classic “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man).”
Shaw also acknowledged the important role of guitarist James “J.Y.” Young, “the man who has played on every Styx album and signed the contract that got this band going.”
Shaw added: “We’ve watched you grow up – and you’ve watched us grow up,” providing a good summary of the decades-long relationship between all three bands and their fans. As the reaction to their combined collection of classic rock hits proved, it’s a mutual admiration that remains intact.
Styx, REO Speedwagon and Loverboy in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, June 1, 2022
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