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REO Speedwagon “Can’t fight this feeling” of crossing an item off their bucket list

Words by: Nichole Taylor
Photos by: Ronnie Jackson

The energy was high at Dos Equis Pavilion on this Friday. Despite the soaring Texas temperatures, people of all ages trickled in all the way up to show time. This made for quite a different scene from REO’s earliest trips to Texas. Frontman Kevin Cronin spoke of his first North Texas experience with the band on ZZ Top’s 1976 World Wide Texas Tour. He stated their dream back then was to one day return to Dallas “to have everyone know every word to every single song we play”. It was clear many present were longtime fans, and even the youngest generation, seeing REO Speedwagon live for the first time, could be seen anticipating every word. The crowd went wild as Cronin thanked them for allowing this to be crossed off the bucket list. Looking back over their experiences these past four decades, “Rock and Roll will keep you young forever,” he added.

Founding member Neal Doughty tickled the keys in that way that only he can, as the set kicked off with “Don’t Let Him Go”. It was clear which songs were crowd favorites as everyone rose to their feet for hits such as “Keep Pushin’” and “Time for Me to Fly”. Dave Amato (who joined the band in 1989) tantalized in the spotlight shredding the well-known riffs while Kevin held down rhythms energizing the crowd all over the stage. Bruce Hall joined in on the fun as the trio commanded the stage over and over. Bryan Hitt (formerly of Wang Chung) kept the heartbeat alive throughout even as they slowed things down for “Can’t Fight This Feeling”.  After the initial farewell, lights went out and the band returned to the stage for a much-anticipated encore. Kevin Cronin took to the piano and, after a brief history of pressure from the label that led to the album, “Hi Infidelity”, delivered a moving performance of “Keep On Loving You”. The crowd remained on their feet for “Roll with the Changes” and a cover of Tom Petty’s “Listen to her Heart” that wrapped up the uplifting, heartwarming performance.

Setlist:
Don’t Let Him Go
In Your Letter
Keep Pushin’
Can’t Fight This Feelin
Tough Guys
That Ain’t Lov
Take It on the Ru
Time for Me to Fly
Back on the Road Again
Ridin’ the Storm Out

Encore:
Keep On Loving You
Roll With the Changes
Listen to Her Heart

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