REO Speedwagon Concert Review
WMMO treated local rock fans to a cool free downtown concert with rock icons REO Speedwagon on a chilly night in Orlando. The band and thousands of fans braved the frigid temperatures for a hit-filled show that had everyone engaged throughout.
REO Speedwagon has been rocking stages across the country for many years, and still sound fantastic all these years later. At one point Kevin Cronin noted that the first time they played Florida was at a drive-in theater in front of 400 people. In the ensuing four decades they’ve entertained many thousands of Floridians and continue to provide a fantastic rock experience.
Keyboardist Neal Doughty founded the band 45 years ago and has played alongside front man Kevin Cronin and bass player Bruce Hall for around 40 years. All three still put on a great show and are joined by “newcomers” Dave Amato on lead guitar and drummer Bryan Hitt, who have “only” been touring with the band for twenty years. As you’d expect with that much experience on the stage, the band is cohesive and tight, and feed off of each other well.
Despite a cold evening, and temperatures in the forties, the band members truly seemed to be enjoying their time on stage. At one time, Cronin offered “This can’t be Florida- you guys are crazy, it’s freezing!”
The set featured all of the band’s hits from over the decades (see the setlist below) kicking off with “Don’t Let Him Go” and closing the main set with “Roll With the Changes,” where family members joined the band on stage for a fun rollicking version. At one point, Cronin mentioned this summer’s upcoming tour with Styx and Ted Nugent and shared a story about how Nugent claims to have written the best rock love song ever, “Cat Scratch Fever.” Immediately after, we heard REO’s rebuttal with Doughty’s familiar keyboard opening to “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
All of the band members had plenty of time in the spotlight throughout the night with a few nice solos from Amato and long solos from Hall and Hitt. Hall also took center stage for his turn at lead vocals on the searing rocker “Back On the Road Again.”
Highlights of the show were a rocking version of “Golden Country,” and a great approach for “Time For Me to Fly” where the song began with a subdued opening of just the guitars and keyboards, before exploding into the singalong moment of the night.
For the encore, Cronin offered “This is when we’d typically walk backstage and have you cheer for a few minutes and then we’d run back out for our encore. Since it’s so cold, how about if we just jump right into it?” With that, he slid behind the keyboards for a nice version of “Keep On Loving You” before the quintet closed with a rousing version of “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” the perfect way to wrap up an excellent night of classic rock.
As they’ve done in the past, the crew at 98.9 WMMO just put on a fantastic well run show for the rock and roll animals of Orlando.
Check out our photos on our RARA’s Farm Facebook page (and Like us while you’re there): REO Speedwagon Concert Photos
Don’t Let Him Go
Take It on the Run
That Ain’t Love
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Like You Do
Time for Me to Fly
Back on the Road Again
Roll With the Changes
Keep on Loving You
Ridin’ the Storm Out