- Wet Fans at Red Rocks Photo by Soren McCarty
When you grow up in Denver like I have, the one thing you never do is under estimate what the whether can do. Tonight I made a classic mistake that I never make. I left for an event without being prepared for cold wet whether. You see last night I attended the Rockies baseball game, made sure I had sweat shirts, rain ponchos, extra sweat pants, and a light coat. Well it turned out to be a very nice night and I carried that stuff around for no reason. Well tonight started out in a similar way, so my decision was to leave all that stuff behind. What a huge mistake it was indeed. The event was a line up of 3 huge classic rock bands playing one of the most famous venues around. The wild eyed southern boys of 38 Special, the legendary Tommy Shaw and company of Styx, and the band that brought us some of the best rock-in roll ballads around – REO Speedwagon.
With 3 bands that have the credentials, and careers that span more than 30 years each, it’s hard to find any empty seats in the house for any part of a show like this. First up was 38 Special. The current line up includes original members Don Barnes on guitar and vocals, Donnie VanZant on vocals, Larry Junstrom who was the original bass player for the legendary Lynard Skynyrd, Bobby Capps On keyboards, Guitarist Danny Chauncey, and newest member Gary Moffatt on drums. They opened the show with “Rocking into the
Night”, it should have been renamed raining into the night. It wasn’t till about halfway through that song and the Colorado skies opened up and began to rain, and didn’t stop for the rest of the show. Yes it’s Red Rock’s, yes it’s Colorado, so the rain did not and would not stop this crowd from getting down and shouting out the words to every song they played. As the band worked through hit songs like Caught Up In You, Fantasy Girl, it was clear that 95% of the crowd was ready for the change in whether. The other 5% including yours truly was not. As the band wrapped it up they ended with what is my favorite 38 Special song ” Caught Up In You”.
With the intermission between band’s we also got a slight intermission from downpour to light, light rain. But the downpour returned as soon as the next band Styx hit the stage. This was not only the first time I have seen the band live, it is also the first time I have heard any of the music played without the founding member Dennis De Young. To tell you the truth I was kinda getting warmed up to give the band a not so good review based on that. I kept thinking to my self, how could it be the same, Dennis was a primary contributor to that Styx sound. They opened up with ” Miss America”, a song with a very distinctive opening guitar riff. With the next song “To Much Time On My Hands” , this is when we saw the rain take it’s toll on the band. As Tommy Shaw broke into his guitar solo he walked across to the north side of the stage, he slipped and fell right on his ass. He wasn’t hurt, maybe a little embarrassed, but what do you do. That honestly was the first time I have ever seen something like that happen at a show, the cool part is I don’t think he missed a lick at all in the solo. Ok that was quickly forgotten, as the band moved on through the set. Lawrence Gowen, keyboard player
who joined the band in 1999, is the replacement for founding member for Dennis De Young. After watching him and listening to him it was clear that my whole review concept of the band not being the same wasn’t going to work. The guy is great musician and more freaky is the songs he did sing didn’t sound any different than what I heard with that other guy so I will stop mentioning it. As the night went on I found my self wondering around, making trips to the bathroom just to get a brake from the rain. So for the remainder of the set I just heard from different parts of the theatre. And honestly I was beginning to get frustrated with myself, because I know better. I was born and raised in Colorado, I called my self a moron on more than once last night. Speaking of morons. How is it that ever time we attend an event and the weather is not so great, there is always that one jack sauce jock that thinks he needs to be running around without his shirt on. Come on, yes it’s obvious that you take pride in yourself, workout, etc. Don’ t be retarded, it’s cold wet , and nasty out. Have a little common sense, don’t be that one guy, or should I say moron, or borderline douche-bag. I may have be one of several morons wearing shorts, but a least I had on 2 shirts and long sleeve’s.
When I think of REO Speedwagon, here’s a band that I like, can’t say I’m a die hard fan. But there is a certain history that
comes with them, and the music takes me back to those times. The first time I was introduced to REO was back in the 80′s. I think everyone remembers that they where the first band to be featured in an MTV concert. So that makes it the first time I got a look of what it was like to see bands play live. The other part of it was that show was filmed here in Denver at the McNichols Sports Arena which is now the parking lot for Invesco Field. The next time REO played a memorable roll in my life is when they played a free show for a radio station around 1990. Not sure of the date. It was for what was back then 106.7 KAZY, which is now 106.7 BPI. Back then KBPI was 105.9, if your a native you know this. I could sit here and say what a great performance they had, get a hold of the set list to say what songs they played. But to be honest the rain, and my lack of being prepared for it had me packing it in before they hit the stage. So I’m sad to say I missed the performance. Sorry all I can do for you is let you know that at least my photography buddy, Soren McCarty stuck it out for 2 songs before he headed out and we can share some photos with ya, but other than that leason learned I will make sure I never make that mistake again. Enjoy the photo’s!
- REO Speedwagon Photo by Soren McCarty