Last night at the REO show...
Just a couple quick stories to share from last night's epic twin bill of REO Speedwagon and .38 Special at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall.
First, a confession: Times pop critic Sean Daly and I missed most of .38 Special's set -- intentionally. Blame Sean. But we did catch "Caught Up In You" and "Hold On Loosely" -- fantastic performance. The crowd was more into it than I would have guessed. And the band was really soaking in the enthusiasm. I was happy for them. Every 80s band should get this type of audience on a regular basis. And next time, the gang from Jacksonville rolls through here, I promise to see the whole show.
Are you sure these guys are in their 50s? They acted like 20-somethings, racing around the stage nonstop. (Someone check nearby convenience stories for a shortage of Red Bull.) The setlist varied a little from what I reported yesterday -- it was better. They threw in some older tunes -- "Golden Country" was a standout -- along with a slew of the greatest hits catalog.
I was disappointed the crowd kept their seats for "Tough Guys" -- easily one of my favorite REO tunes. But at our age, we need to conserve our energy, I suppose. "Take It On The Run" sounds much better live these days. Not so much a ballad these days, it takes on a rebellious anthem tone. Bassist Bruce Hall sounded in peak form as well on "Back On The Road Again." That's a song that doesn't get enough credit.
Sean was caught off guard, I think. Expecting more of a soft-rock show, Sean wasn't expecting REO's high-powered set. "This is a rock show!" he kept saying. Damn straight.