Tuesday night REO Speedwagon treated their SoCal fans to an evening of hard rocking nostalgia at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA.
It’s hard to believe that REO Speedwagon’s debut album was released almost 50 years ago and that the current line-up of the band has been touring for 30 years! Singer Kevin Cronin is still carrying the torch that lone founding member Neal Doughty lit way back in the late 60’s. Since then the band has gone through a few line-up changes that include three singers, two guitarists, two bass players and two drummers. Cronin himself has been in the band twice. First for just a year in 1972 and then back for good in 1976. The current line-up also includes long time bass player and sometimes lead vocalist Bruce Hall plus the new guys who joined in 1990 Bryan Hitt on drums and Dave Amato on lead guitar. Cronin had a bit of fun with Amato that after all these years he was in fact “still” the new guy.
The band immediately began to rock the crowd hard with “Don’t Let Him Go” the first track from 1980’s ten million seller “Hi Infidelity.” Next up was “Music Man” from 1972 followed by the first of two appearances by Bruce Hall on lead vocals with “Someone Tonight.” For the next 2 hours the band played the perfect set list. 16 songs in all with 6 coming from the aforementioned “Hi Infidelity.”
The band also included some surprises with songs such as “That Ain’t Love” and “Live Every Moment” which Cronin dedicated to Kobe Bryant and which the band hasn’t played LIVE since 1985. The sixteen song setlist included all of the band’s chart toppers plus showstoppers such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out” and “Roll With The Changes.”
Kudos to drummer Bryan Hitt because at 66 years of age he played the drums hard and heavy throughout that show. When our veteran artist get older it’s usually the drummer who starts to slow down but for Hitt it looked like he was just getting started.
REO Speedwagon once again proved why they are still doing it after all these years by combining the perfect setlist with streamlined staging and fantastic lighting. By the end of evening the crowd was singing along and the band left everyone with a smiles on their faces.
– SET LIST –
Don’t Let Him Go
Someone Tonight (Bruce Hall on lead vocals)
Can’t Fight This Feeling
That Ain’t Love
Son Of A Poor Man
I Wish You Were There
Live Every Moment (First time played LIVE since 1985)
Take It On The Run
Time For Me To Fly
Back On The Road Again (Bruce Hall on lead vocals)
Ridin’ The Storm Out
– Encore –
Keep On Loving You
Roll With The Changes
Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.