Styx / R.E.O. Speedwagon Comes to the Border
Seneca Casino, Niagara Falls, NY, USA August 18 2017
Styx formed together out of Chicago, IL originally with Wooden Nickel recordings in 1972 releasing albums Styx (1972), Styx II (1973), The Serpent is Rising (1973) and Man of Miracles (1974. They later signed with A&M records in 1975 releasing Equinox. With new guitarist Tommy Shaw, Crystal Ball (1976) was released.
In 1977 their release of The Grand Illusion was given a Triple Platinum certification. Along came Pieces of Eight in 1978. At this time the band was a large success with their hits.
Their success got even bigger with their release of Paradise Theater in 1981. After their Platinum release of Kilroy Was Here, Tommy Shaw had left the band to pursue a solo career. In 1990 new guitarist Glen Burtnik was brought in with the release of Edge Of The Century. Tommy Shaw had reunited with the band in 1995 for Styx Greatest Hits. With the death of drummer John Panozzo in 1996 from alcohol (abuse, or years of abuse or overdose – is there a specific?) Todd Sucherman was brought in.
The album Return to Paradise (1997) was released from this tour. With little success in 1999 Brave New World was released. Their next release wasn’t until 2003 with Cyclorama. With the years of personal conflicts, deaths of John Panozzo and John Curulewski, separations, and re-unions of band members Styx came out with their 2017 release of The Mission and are now on tour.
In watching their performance it was hard to believe it was almost 40 years since I last saw Styx, performing the Pieces of Eight tour at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. They sounded right on key with every song through their set. I went into the show a bit skeptical on how they would sound these days. I walked out of there wanting to go purchase their new album in addition to releases I don’t already have in my collection.
They had an exuberant amount of much energy on the stage and participating with the crowd referring to them as the “Niagara Falls Choir”. Adding some fun with getting the crowd roaring to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and covering the Beatles Lullaby. Tommy Shaw was jumping around the stage as if he was back in the late 70’s. Lawrence Gowan not only was jamming away at the keyboards but belting out vocals in perfect range and clarity. Todd Sucherman was killing it on the drums. It was enjoyable watching the crowd dancing and singing as they performed their hits. It was definitely a show worth seeing again.
Even with the great loss of Dennis DeYoung on vocals Styx was still able to give a performance that won the fans over.They really gave it a full energetic performance. Even though they were the opening act for R.E.O. Speedwagon, I feel they took the show!
Styx Set List at Seneca Casino, Niagara Falls
- Light Up
- Grand Illusion
- Light Up
- Radio Silence
- Miss America
- Fooling Yourself
- Too Much Time On My Hands
- Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover)
- Lullaby (Beatles cover)
- Come Sail Away
- Rocking In Paradise
Also, from Chicago, R.E.O. Speedwagon, forming their first album on Epic records in 1971 (R.E.O. Speedwagon). Throughout the years and several lead singers they released the following albums, R.E.O./T.W.O (1972), Ridin’ The Storm Out (1973), Lost In A Dream (1974), This Time We Mean It (1975), R.E.O (1976), You Can Tune A Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish (1978), Nine Lives (1979), Hi Infidelity (1980), Nine Lives (1979), Hi Infidelity (1980), good Trouble (1982), Wheels are Turnin’ (1984), Life As We Know It (1987), The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken (1980), Building the Bridge (1996), Find Your Own Way Home (2007). It is difficult to remember and list all the band members they have gone through in the past 50 years.
For a band starting out over 50 years ago I give them credit for still getting out and performing for their fans. With the performance in Niagara Falls, NY Seneca Casino I am hoping that I just hit an off night for the group. Kevin Cronin’s vocals just were not carrying enough power to belt out the songs as I once knew them. Neal Doughty who is the only original band member didn’t seem to have enough energy to slam down on his keyboards. The crowd seemed to be paying more attention to getting in line at the back beer tent then watching the performance. In a way it sounded as a cover band performing at a beer tent charity event. Although they had performed a great number of their hits, it was disappointing they didn’t give it more energy in their performance.
REO Speedwagon Set List
- 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