On March 20th 2018, a tour de force of big time classic rock n rollers made a stop at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, MI. This event featured talent that has won numerous awards and created countless hit singles. When a tour of this magnitude comes around, you are certainly in for a great show. Don Felder, Styx and REO Speedwagon did not disappoint.
Don Felder kicked off the star-studded night with a bevy of hits from his near three decade run with The Eagles. Felder was a pivotal induction into The Eagles in their early days moving from a country rock sound to rock and roll, as he provided that guitar sound The Eagles became known for. Don Felder hasn’t been with The Eagles since 2001, but even during his time with them, he was always busy with projects. Felder even performed “Heavy Metal (Takin’ A Ride)” a song he wrote for the movie Heavy Metal. It was a night of hits from his time with The Eagles that made this show tick. From, “Already Gone”, “Witchy Woman”, “Take It Easy” to that unforgettable opening riff of “Life In The Fast Lane” to the smash hit “Hotel California”. Don Felder and his band had the crowd from the first chord to the last. What an awesome display and that was just the first act.
Styx is a band that hardly needs an introduction. Anyone on the face of this planet has heard Styx some way or another. Styx has built up a library of chart topping songs that can make even the modest fan giddy with joy when they perform. Styx has been rocking the masses since the early 70’s and continue into the new millennium. With sound styles ranging from hard rock, soft rock, pop rock and progressive rock, Styx has mastered the rock genre to create some masterpieces. And not being ones to rest on past success, Styx continues to pump out new music. Tonight, they performed “Radio Silence” off their 2017 album titled ‘The Mission’, which any fan of progressive rock will certainly appreciate.
With James Young on guitar/backing and lead vocals, Tommy Shaw on guitar/lead and backing vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums, Ricky Phillips on bass and backing vocals and the ever-energetic Lawrence Gowan on keyboards and lead and backing vocals, Styx delivers one heck of a performance. With songs like “Lady”, “Come Sail Away” and “Too Much Time On My Hands”, to name a few, Styx had the crowd pumped throughout their entire set, and they even got the fans singing along to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I don’t think anyone was disappointed after Styx played. Only tidbit for me is this is my third time seeing Styx and I’ve yet to see them play “Mr. Roboto”. But that’s what happens when a band has so many hit songs, some songs aren’t going to make the set list. But regardless, it was good rocking fun.
Rounding out the evening was REO Speedwagon. Another band that’s been rocking the masses for several decades, since 1967 to be exact. REO Speedwagon created numerous songs that make fans rise to their feet and sing along to “Take It On The Run”, “Time For Me To Fly”, “Keep On Lovin’ You” and “Roll With The Changes”. It’s undeniable to not have a satisfying concert experience having these songs and others performed. Sporting yellow framed glasses, lead singer/rhythm guitarist and pianist Kevin Cronin led the crowd along on a voyage through all the hits, happy and sad moments. Neal Doughty on keyboards, Bruce Hall on bass/backing and lead vocals, Dave Amato on lead guitar and backing vocals and Bryan Hitt on drums played together like a well-oiled machine. Ending the night with a tribute to Tom Petty by performing “Listen To Her Heart”, which Cronin said Tom Petty is one of America’s best singer and song writers.
To borrow from Cronin’s thoughts about Tom Petty, this night was filled with more of America’s, if not the world’s best singers and song writers. This is one tour that has a stacked deck of talent from front to back and any fan of music should make their way to see them perform. With so many hit songs that have survived the test of time, they’ll sure have you reflecting back to your younger years and make you feel good that that rock and roll soul is still with you and will always be there to keep you rocking forever.
Mike Shaler, Photojournalist for Go Venue Magazine [all photos by Mike Shaler]