REO Speedwagon - Live in the heartland...
Released on the same day as the Heart set, Soundstage have brought together another strong set from US Midwest band REO Speedwagon. Comprising of Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (lead guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums), the band run through old and new songs in a set that last just over 90 minutes.
Soundstage was a PBS programme that ran in the US from 1974 to 1985 and featured many bands and artists that defined that era such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, etc, etc. The cast of luminaries was large and wide, trust me on that. Soundstage was reborn in 2003 with the idea of combining high-def TV with surround sound.
REO Speedwagon have sold over 40 million records worldwide and this set includes songs from their newest album Find Your Own Way Home.
Very nice picture, as is standard so far with the Soundstage series. There are 12 cameras used including a steadicam and a crane to provide nice overhead sweeping shots of the band on stage. Bright stage with colourful backdrops and video screens that are virtually standard equipment for bands these days.
Nice 5.1 Surround track that is both clear and powerful, the latter only when it needs to be.
Interview with Kevin Cronin and Neil Doughty - interesting interview that actually manages to cram a lot into the 11 minute running time, although Neil Doughty looks so different here than from on stage that I didn't actually recognise him (not being familiar with the band and all…).
REO Speedwagon XM Confidential - acoustic mini-set of Ridin' The Storm and I Needed To Fall, running time of 16 minutes but that includes a lot of on-stage banter from Cronin and his bandmates - although mainly Cronin, as you would maybe expect from a lead singer.
I was only familiar with three REO Speedwagon songs, and one of those I wasn't even aware was written and performed by this band. Can't Fight This Feeling and Keep On Loving You were radio staples at their time and Take It On The Run was the other song I knew of but never associated with REO Speedwagon. As with a number of bands that hit it big with power ballads, the core of their music is more stadium rock. Unlike Heart though, who I also reviewed today, I really do quite like the majority of their non-ballad tracks, and that's despite knowing far more about the Wilson sisters than this band.
The Americans do stadium rock really well, it's not quite heavy rock but there's plenty of guitar in there and it actually feels warm and familiar. This is REO Speedwagon. This whole set was superb and I really enjoyed it. Cronin, who has a nice line in stage banter, mentioned at the start of the show that REO Speedwagon were here to play new songs and all the old favourites, but most of all were here to party. And they delivered all three without question.
Superb stuff, and they've gained a new fan.