Photos - Main Event Tour - August 2, 2003, Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
Photos by: Steve Boniface
REO Spedwagon
It was a beautiful night to hear beautiful music. Upon hearing of the REO Speedwagon, Styx and Journey concert, it was a little unexpected of what was in store. These were three of the hottest bands in the 1980s and sometimes turning back the clock isn’t always the best of ideas. But on those rare occasions where diving in the past becomes a comfort for the present, there is nothing better. This show made a perfect 10 dive.

With these three co-headliners, it is hard to pick whom to write about first, but we start with REO. From the first note until the last hum, this was like watching them in their heyday. Kevin Cronin, though aged in the appearance, still showed the energy and talent of his youth. Whether it was “Keep on Rolling” or “Time for Me to Fly,” REO sounded better than ever. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of life leads you away from your fond memories, and it takes something to jolt them back. That is what REO did. Like a lightening rod, the songs helped to attract memories as they came flashing through the brain. And I guarantee there were more than a few who were at the show with their current spouse or significant other who were remembering dates gone past and heavy petting in the back seat while having REO as the soundtrack.

Journey, without Steve Perry, was a question mark in most minds, but Neil Schon and the boys helped put that dispute to rest with a wonderful show. Vocalist Steve Augeri helped set the minds at ease with his Perry-esque voice and appearance and after a while, it was almost as if Perry was there himself. Like REO, Journey helped the fans relive their youth, and not just because of all the hit songs, but because they were all played so well. With a show that was as tight as the pants worn when they were at the top of the charts, Journey was dead on with each and every song they played. Even with their hour-plus long set, it seemed as though they never touched the surface of all their hits, let alone the fan favorites that didn’t make it to radio. From the more heavy “Wheels In The Sky” to the ever-popular ballad “Open Arms,” Journey was able to put emotion into their music that even a lot of the popular bands today can’t seem to touch.

And then there was Styx. Perhaps the most odd band on the tour, Styx never seemed to find their niche, but provided some great music to the 80s. Whether it was “Mr. Roboto” or “Come Sail Away,” Styx was one of the few bands that were ever changing in their music. Just when they would have a major hit, Styx would turn 180 degrees and put out the most unexpected record. Many times it left people confused, but in the end, Styx did what they wanted and didn’t allow commercial success to overtake their musical integrity. Dennis De Young played a great front man, with comments on age to music, but in the end, like De Young said, old people can still rock and roll.

All in all, this show proved to be a great surprise and exceeded any expectations. Not only were the memories great, but the bands made the present great. This wasn’t a show to just go and reminisce about the old times, but it left people talking about the show just days ago. Not just years ago.

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