The United We Rock tour made its as through the Western New York are this past Friday night as REO Speedwagon and Styx co headlined the outdoor stage at the Seneca Niagara Casino. On this night REO Speedwagon were the headliners as they take turns alternating on the current tour.

These bands define what classic rock is. They both have a storied history; they both have plenty of radio friendly hits and both have defined what arena is all about. The casino usually enjoys putting on a few shows outdoors but decided to do one weekend of back to back shows. The makeshift stage as set up for about 4,500 people which was sold out easily.

Styx were up first. The band has anew album called “The Mission.” This is the first release in 14 years and why not open the set with which sounds like a Styx classic already in “Gone, Gone Gone.” Terrific song that blends in with the other mainstays they have. Their rhythm guitarist and vocalist Tommy Shaw talked about how proud they were to make this record. Lead guitarist JY Young, keyboardist and vocalist Lawrence Gowan and bassist Rickey Phillips were all over the stage. They talked about their classic album “Grand Illusion” and how they play a handful of tracks from it. Gowan joked around with the crowd as he was saying “you guys are rocking so hard, make sure you have enough of it left for KISS tomorrow night.” The stage was set up with a space theme where there were a lot of outer space visuals. Also accompanying the guys I mentioned was Todd Sucherman on drums ( Longtime bassist and original member Chuck Panozzo didn’t make the show.) “Radio Silence” was the 2nd track they played for the mission. Again, the melodies on this track are very much within that traditional Styx classic sound. It’s very rare to see a band not rest on their laurels or put out sub-standard material but Styx continues to defy the odds.

REO Speedwagon were up next and had a hard time matching the enthusiasm and energy that Styx showed earlier. The band has had a consistent lineup for over 28 years in Guitarist/and vocalist Kevin Cronin , keyboardist Neal Doughty, bassist Bruce Hall, guitarist Dave Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt. You can see how tight the band sounds musically in songs like “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Time for Me to Fly.” Cronin’s voice held up as he could go back between REO’s more subtle tunes to their more heavier songs like “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Ridin the Storm Out.” Amato is a solid no frills guitar player who proficiency allows the rest of the guys to experiment a little bit. Hitt says what his name implies. He’s one of the harder hitting drummers out there. Again, the set didn’t match Styx but the crowd seemed to enjoy them as much as Styx. This match was perfect for classic rock enthusiasts.

REO Speedwagon setlist:

Don’t Let Him Go

Keep Pushin’

Can’t Fight This Feeling

Tough Guys

Whipping Boy

That Ain’t Love

Take it on the Run

Like You Do

Time for me to Fly

Back on the Road Again

Ridin’ the Storm Out

Keep on Loving You

Roll With the Changes

 

 

Styx setlist:

 

Gone, Gone, Gone

Blue Collar Man

Grand Illusion

Lady

Light Up

Radio Silence

Miss America

Fooling Yourself

Too Much Time

Come Sail Away

Encore:

Rockin’ The Paradise

Renegade

Styx @ Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls, NY 8-18-17

 

Photo Gallery

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We would like to thank Amanda Cagan from ABC Public Relations, Brooke Paller from Scoop Marketing and Nadine DiStefano from the Seneca Niagara Casino for the credentials to review the show.

 

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That’s when Backstageaxxess.com began.
I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here.
When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do.
My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows:
1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium – Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96
2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) – Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03
3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05
4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89
5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center – Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06
The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.