Tulsa-area fans have two chances to see REO play
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Thursday, February 21, 2013
2/21/13 at 10:04 AM
If you managed to get tickets to Saturday's REO Speedwagon concert at The Joint, you're lucky.
The show quickly sold out, but frontman Kevin Cronin is happy to tell everyone they'll get another chance to see the band again - but in an entirely different setting.
Saturday's show inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa will be an "intimate endeavor" that will dig into the band's expansive playbook, he said during a recent telephone interview.
"The casino shows give us a lot of freedom, mainly because we have more time with fans than in the co-headlining situation. ... We also have an opportunity to add an acoustic set within our stage show."
Plus, the Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express tour will bring REO Speedwagon, Styx and Ted Nugent to the BOK Center on May 8. Ticketing information for that show will be released soon, Cronin said. Rolling Stone called last year's outing one of the "Ten Hottest Summer Package Tours of 2012." Don't worry, though, both will feature the band's greatest hits.
"We're really lucky that our 'core' songs also happen to be our biggest hits and are our favorite songs to play," he said.
Over 45 years, the Illinois-based band has released 16 studio albums, including 1980's top-selling "Hi Infidelity" through to 2007's "Find Your Own Way Home." The band's hits include "Keep on Loving You," "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Ridin' the Storm Out," "Take It on the Run," "Don't Let Him Go" and "Keep the Fire Burnin'."
In the band's earlier years, it churned through an array of band members. These days, it's led by Cronin and co-founding member keyboardist Neal Doughty. The lineup has remained firm since 1991 with Bruce Hall on bass, Dave Amato on lead guitar and Bryan Hitt on drums.
REO Speedwagon has sold out an array of venues in cities around the world in recent years.
"I'm not sure why our music still endures," Cronin said, then laughed. "Why are we popular? That's a great question. We're always looking to improve our live shows. We include new staging, new production, and we tweak our own music arrangements for live shows. We do things that keep us excited about playing and making new music. ... I think our fans see that energy."
Plus, he said, practice makes perfect. "Live, we're a better band than we were 30 years ago," he said. "Maybe that's inspiration for our fans, too. We show people that nobody has to get 'old.' We take care of ourselves - we maintain our energy."
Indeed, age is relative. At 61, Cronin has young children in school, he exercises, he practices with his band, he writes music and "has earned my spot with rock 'n' roll youth."
"I'm a bit of a wild card, whether it's on our own as a band or on tour with Ted (Nugent) and Styx," he said. "Some night, I may walk out onstage with Styx and sing 'Blue Collar Man.' Who knows. We have a lot of freedom these days - a lot of freedom to play. People come to see us - all of us."
The band's official website hints at a new album with recording sessions under way at the Blue Moon Studio near Los Angeles. No release date has been announced.
When: Doors open 7 p.m., showtime 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, 777 W. Cherokee St., Catoosa
Tickets: SOLD OUT. Must be 21.
The Midwest Rock 'n' Roll Express Tour
WITH STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON AND TED NUGENT
When: May 8
Where: BOK Center, 200 S. Denver Ave.
Tickets: All-ages. Details TBA.
Original Print Headline: Freedom to rock
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346
REO Speedwagon will play a sold-out show Saturday at The Joint. RANDEE ST. NICHOLAS / Courtesy