Midwest Rock N Roll Express Tour (Featuring: Reo Speedwagon, Styx and Ted Nugent) @ Turning Stone Casino, Verona, New York
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
By: Gus Griesinger
The Midwest Rock and Roll Express Tour which includes Reo Speedwagon, Styx and Ted Nugent made its way through Central NY with a stop at the Turning Stone Casino. These 3 bands, who defined the late 70’s and early 80’s rock sound, together on the same bill would be a dream come true for any classic rock music fan. Well, for the most part that would seem right.
Starting off the night was the motor city madman Ted Nugent. Politics aside, you cannot deny that Ted is still one of the most amazing performers at age 63. Even a recent knee surgery cannot hold back the fire and excitement Ted brings out every time he hits the stage. Verona was no exception. Opening up with “Wango Tango,” the band was locked and loaded and ready to go from there. With Derek St. Holmes back in the mix, the old songs he originally sang are back and sound true to the original form. The only lowlight was the short set. As Ted says, “Every day is Independence Day and we should be celebrating that fact EVERY day!” Well said Ted, well said!
Following the Nuge was Styx. Even though original vocalist/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung hasn’t been with the band for a number of years now, the band continues to be a strong touring outfit. With Canadian Gowan on the keys and singing the Dennis DeYoung songs, he fits in nicely with the band and doesn’t try to do too much. Guitarists James “JY” Young and Tommy Shaw are still the main attractions in Styx. Not only Gowan but talented bassist/guitarist Rickey Phillips and drummer Todd Sucherman round out the rest of a solid band that Styx fans can be proud of!
The show was a hit parade of songs one after the other for Styx. Sometimes you forget the amazing songs and records they have put out. Tommy Shaw still has a great voice and a stage presence that kept everyone on their feet the entire time. To appease the lifelong Styx fans, the B side “Man in the Wilderness” was played. Original bassist Chuck Pannazo came out to play on “Fooling Yourself,” “Come Sail Away,” and “Renegade.” Phillips then played a double neck guitar on “Fooling Yourself” and 5-string bass on the other two songs mentioned previously. A fantastic set by Styx!
Closing the night’s festivities was Reo Speedwagon. The momentum was built up for them to “Take it on the Run” you can say, but I believe they failed to do so. Opening with the slower tempo song “Don’t Let Him Go,” that energy seemed to dissipate from there. The band still consists of mostly original members including keyboardist Neal Doughty and vocalist/guitarist Kevin Cronin, who was all smiles and the band gave the best performance they could, but just couldn’t match the intensity of the first two bands. The band did play tightly throughout their set and Dave Amato is a technically sound guitarist. They appeased their fans by playing all their hits as well.
Why Styx wasn’t headlining (with Ted the next up) was a question that not only was I asking myself, but the rest of the fans were I’m sure too!
Reo Speedwagon Set List:
Don’t Let Him Go
Take it on the Run
Can’t Fight this Feeling That Ain’t Love
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
Styx Set List:
Blue Collar Man
Too Much Time on my Hands
Man in the Wilderness
Come Sail Away (prelude with Gowan singing lines to: Derek and the Dominoes “Layla” Piano exit, playing the “Godfather Theme,” singing The Who “Pinball Wizard,” and singing Queen’s Fat Bottom Girls”)
Rockin’ the Paradise
Ted Nugent Set List:
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Free for All
Wang Dang Sweet Pootang/Spirit of the Wild/Red House (Jimi Hendrix cover)/Wang Dang Sweet Pootang
Cat Scratch Fever
We would like to thank both Amanda Cagan from ABC PR and Linda Peterson from Tedquarters for the credentials to cover this tour.