Being the live music nut that I am, I actually have a Must-See list of bands that I still want to see perform live and since I moved to LA, my list has dwindled down to almost nothing. However, one of the bands that remained was REO Speedwagon and last night I finally got to see them in concert at the Greek Theatre! They were sharing the bill with Chicago and who doesn’t love Chicago?!
Other than the hellish logistics of actually getting to the Greek, it was a sure bet I’d have a great night!!
Granted, perhaps a few years past their true prime, REO still sounds sensational. Kevin Cronin’s voice has aged incredibly well and he can successfully reach all the higher registers of their hit songs. They opened the show with a funkin’ hard groovin’ version of “Don’t Let Him Go,” which sounded perfect. They dished out a good chunk of their fan favorites including my own personal faves “Take it on the Run,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Tough Guys,” and Back on the Road Again.”
Honestly, I really wish they had been the headliner so that I could have heard all the rest of the tunes they couldn’t get to. The band is still pretty damn tight, and keep in mind they formed in 1967!! They have been around the block with the best of them! Oh how I wished I had seen them back in the 80’s or even 90’s!! Great set. Left me wanting more … so much more!
Chicago took the stage and while they are an incredibly talented and prolific band, I have seen them several times before and I have got to say … I wasn’t loving them as much as I thought I would last night. They have a new album so they played some songs off of that. Sorry, but I will come right out and say it, I don’t pay an arm and a leg to hear your new stuff. I’m here to enjoy the hits. The faves. The best of the best. Chicago has also coincidentally been around since 1967 including 987284828 albums and almost as many Top 40 hits. As if they didn’t have enough of their own songs to choose from for their playlist, they actually played a cover of a techno dance track I used to boogie to at the clubs? I do not mean to harsh on Chicago. They are legends. They a really are. The vocals are too notch, the horns are SPECTACULAR. But other than my very favorites “25 or 6 to 4,” which always sounds OUTSTANDING live, as well as “Saturday in the Park,” “I’m a Man” and everyone’s favorite memory of their junior high dance “Color My World,” I was feeling a tad bored?
Towards the end of the show, REO joined Chicago on stage and they were singing DUETS of each other’s songs. Eeeek. That was when I decided it would be a more efficient usage of my time to SKEEDADDLE back to my car before the hordes of people left the show causing a massive traffic jam at 11 o’clock at night. I love Chicago. They are incredible musicians, although I really don’t think anyone can ever replace or follow Peter Cetera as the lead singer and I felt a slight “cheese” factor last night that I don’t ever recall feeling at their shows before?
However, they put on a fantastic show.
In summary, I would declare the winner of this showdown to be REO Speedwagon and if I were the producer of this tour, I would definitely not repeat the gathering of the two bands on stage. It was just kind of… really weird.
But in the end, if the music rocks, your ears are happy and you forget all the stress in your life for a few hours, then it was time and money well spent, right?