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LIVE: LIVE & UNZOOMED featuring STYX & REO SPEEDWAGON – June 8, 2022

Venue: Pine Knob Music Theatre

City: Clarkston, MI

Dates: June 8, 2022

Review and Photographs by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur (www.toddstarphotography.com)

Summer concert season is upon us, and it was no more evident than hitting Pine Knob (FINALLY get to call it that again in reviews) and catching another killer co-headlining tour from Styx and REO Speedwagon as well as special guests Loverboy.  This bill was ripped from my formative years of the early to mid-1980’s.  Even a chilly, overcast, drizzly, and at times good tempo rain couldn’t stop the fans from packing the venue on a Wednesday night.  Opener Loverboy wasted no time and ran through arguably their biggest hits of the 80’s and leaving no doubt they came to rock.  From set opener “Notorious” to closer “Working for the Weekend” it was nothing but smiles, a ton of singing, and great songs that took us all back to a different era.  Frontman Mike Reno guided the show and the group – Paul Dean (guitars), Doug Johnson (keyboards), Matt Frenette (drums), and Ken Sinnaeve (bass) – provided the perfect sonic roadmap for the set.

REO Speedwagon was up next and delivered a hit-filled set that drew on older tracks and huge hits that are always welcome in any playlist or live set.  I am always pleased with any REO show that includes my two personal favorites “Tough Guys” and “Don’t Let Him Go.”  Kicking things off with “Music Man” and then rolling into the monster smash “Take It On The Run,” how could things go wrong?  In short, they can’t.  The unit is as tight as they have ever been with no indication taking extended breaks during the pandemic changed anything.  The quintet of Neal Doughty (keyboards), Kevin Cronin (vocals / guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Dave Amato (guitar), and Bryan Hitt (drums) worked together to deliver a seamless show that seemed to string together exactly the songs the crowd wanted, needed, and expected.  In addition to my favorites, there were other big hits and classics that dotted the musical landscape for their set, including the trio “Time for Me to Fly,” “Back on the Road Again,” and “Ridin’ the Storm Out.”  These timeless songs have become a part of us as much as we are a part of them.  One thing REO has always done and will continue to do is part of their credo and the title of set closer “Roll With the Changes.”

Styx was last, but certainly not least as the evening rolled on.  Taking the stage with an additional member for the bulk of the show, the group kicked things off with a new track from their latest release, 2021’s Crash Of The Crown, “The Fight of Our Lives.”  This same mode of operation suited them well in recent years when they kicked off shows with “Gone Gone Gone” (which I missed not having in the current set) before launching into Styx standards, classics, and fan favorites “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “The Grand Illusion.”  The band – James “J.Y.” Young (guitar / vocals), Tommy Shaw (vocals / guitar), Todd Sucherman (drums), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards / vocals), Ricky Phillips (bass), and new comer touring member Will Evankovich – was firing on all cylinders, and probably added some nitrous to the tank, as they moved through the set with other songs they have cultivated and strengthened over the years and tossing in a couple more tracks from the 2021 album, including the title track, which is the first track in the bands history to feature three lead vocals.  After that, they dug up an older track that surprised a few with 1975’s “Light Up” hitting the set.  Soon after we were off and running down the Styx hit highway with “Rockin’ the Paradise,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” strung together leading into a couple minutes of Gowan when the tandem of “Khedive” and “Lost at Sea.”  After the band laid “Come Sail Away” on the capacity Pine Knob crowd, there was only one way to close the show and that was with the pairing of “Mr. Roboto” and “Renegade.”  A staple over the last few tours, founding member Chuck Panozzo joined the group to help close out the show.

Styx Setlist: The Fight of Our Lives – Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) – The Grand Illusion – Lady – Crash of the Crown – Light Up – Sound the Alarm – Rockin’ the Paradise – Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) – Too Much Time on My Hands – Khedive – Lost at Sea – Come Sail Away – Mr. Roboto – Renegade

REO Speedwagon Setlist: Music Man – Take It On The Run – Keep Pushin’ – Live Every Moment – Tough Guys – Can’t Fight This Feeling – Like You Do – Don’t Let Him Go – Time for Me to Fly – Back on the Road Again – Ridin’ the Storm Out – Keep On Loving You – Roll With the Changes

Loverboy Setlist: Notorious – Lucky Ones – Queen of the Broken Hearts – The Kid Is Hot Tonite – Lovin’ Every Minute of It – Hot Girls in Love – Turn Me Loose – Working for the Weekend

FULL SET OF STYX PHOTOS HERE

STYX LINKS:

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FULL SET OF REO SPEEDWAGON PHOTOS HERE

REO SPEEDWAGON LINKS:

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FULL SET OF LOVERBOY PHOTOS HERE

LOVERBOY LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

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INSTAGRAM

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Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mark Davison says:

    Todd,

    Love reading your articles!! You capture the essence of the actual show in your words as much as with your photos. Keep on rocking these venues so I can see and feel them thru your work.

    Thank you again!!

    Mark

  2. Thanks for the kind words Mark! This truly is a labor of love.

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