STYX | REO SPEEDWAGON | LOVERBOY
Live & UnZoomed Tour 2022
August 19, 2022
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
MANSFIELD, Mass. – Live, in-person and UnZoomed with three of the most iconic bands of the 70s / 80s classic rock era, joining forces to bring fans the timeless hits they have been waiting to hear. REO Speedwagon, STYX and Loverboy came together about four years ago with the original idea for this touring package. The COVID pandemic put a halt to that, 2022 would be the year that the idea would finally come to a venue near you with the Live & Unzoomed Tour 2022. Prior to 2020, none of would even know what UnZoomed means. In 2022 we have a better understanding of that term, one that means we are able to come back together again, in person to celebrate live music and enjoy life again.
If you could compile one of the best mix tapes of 80s rock, it is pretty certain that each of these bands would have multiple songs on it. Collectively, the songs of these three bands would be the soundtrack to the lives of millions spanning that past five decades. Mansfield was treated to a night of music from the original authors of the soundtrack to the 70s and 80s.
First up for the night was Loverboy, a band that came about on the cusp of the Big 80s, one of few bands from that era that maintains a near all original lineup. The band is Mike Reno on vocals, Paul Dean on guitar (although Dean was not on stage performing this night and had a guest fill-in guitarist), Doug Johnson on keyboards, Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve on bass and Matt Frennette on drums. The original bassist, Scott Smith passed away in 2000 in a boating accident.
Loverboy started the night with “Notorious” to get the crowd going. They would go on to play a forty-five minute set that would include the classics, “Lucky Ones,” “Queen of the Broken Hearts,” “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” and “Loving Every Minute of It.” Loverboy would continue through musical memory machine of their 80s catalog and round out the set with “Hot Girls In Love” and “Turn Me Loose.” Closing out the set was the familiar knocks of the cowbell that signal the weekend, and into one of the most iconic 80’s rock anthems, “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend.”
LOVERBOY photo gallery
REO Speedwagon was originally formed around 1967, though their significant success grew out of the later part of the 70s and all through the 80s. REO Speedwagon is a band that has several of the most recognizable songs to define the 80s sound. The band has had an assortment of membership through the years, though it is packed with most of the early membership that were a part of the discography in their rise to fame. In 2022, REO Speedwagon is original, founding member, Neil Doughty on keyboards, the signature voice of Kevin Cronin on lead vocals and guitar since 1972, Bruce Hall on bass since 1978, Dave Amato on guitar since 1989 and Bryan Hitt on drums since 1990.
There is a local connection to Massachusetts for Amato, as he was born in raised in nearby Framingham. In additional to Amato’s tenure with REO Speedwagon, he has also performed with Kim Carnes, Ted Nugget, Richie Sambora and Cher, to name only just a few.
REO took the stage amongst a swell of cheers and applause, the set kicked off with “Don’t Let Him Go,” “Take It On The Run,” and “Keep Pushin’.” They continued on with “Live Every Moment,” “That Ain’t Love,” “Tough Guys,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Like You Do,” “Time for Me to Fly.” The set closed out with “Back on the Road Again,” with Bruce Hall on vocals, “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” “Keep On Loving You” and “Roll With The Changes.” All in all, it was a fabulous presentation of REO Speedwagon music.
REO SPEEDWAGON photo gallery
Closing out this musical trifecta was a band that I have seen live three times since 2015. Unfortunately I never got to see them back in the days of the 70s and 80s. But it is never too late get out and see STYX, a band that has been musically solid each time. Always with a fun set list and lively stage performance. In 2022, STYX is Tommy Shaw (guitar/vocals), Chuck Panozzo (bass), James “J.Y.” Young (guitar/vocals), Lawrence Gowan (keyboard/vocals), Ricky Phillips (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums) and the latest addition since 2021, Will Evankovitch on guitar. Evankovitch might be the youngest of the group, but he produced and co-wrote two STYX albums, The Mission and the latest release, Crash Of The Crown, he has been officially announced as the seventh member of STYX by Tommy Shaw.
The first song of the night was “The Fight Of Our Lives,” the opening track from the 2021 album, Crash of the Crown. The musical energy on the stage was glowing and the audience was at its feet with “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “The Grand Illusion.”
Todd Sucherman, an award winning drummer, who has been with the band since 1995, has such an amazing drumming style and belongs in a category of the top drummers of the 21st century. The drums beats and fills that come from behind his double bass, Pearl kit are the added secret ingredient to powerful live sound of any STYX show.
The night would continue its musical flow with “Lady”, with Gowan at the helm for lead vocals and keyboards, followed with another selection from the new album, “Crash of the Crown.” Followed with “Light Up” and another new song, “Sound the Alarm.”
Gowan provided the band introductions, noting Todd Succherman’s local connection to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, having completed one year, dropped out of the college and has now gone on to be one of the most prolific drummers of the 21st centrury. Gowan highlighted the Styx milestone of 2022, which meant that the band was celebrating 50 years of the band this year. Following the intros, Styx would bring The Paradise to Mansfield, and went into “Rockin’ the Paradise.”
Tommy Shaw took a moment to talk to the audience, talking about the 50 years, telling the story of two twin boys from Chicago who were ready to rock, when they picked up instruments, learning drums and guitar, those boys were Chuck and John Panozzo. Shaw contninued, then other musicians from down the street would come along, James JY Young would make his appearance and then it all came together. Shaw welcomed Panozzo to the stage to come along and perform on bass with the band “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man).”
Shaw then shared the history of the next song, saying that this was a song that he came up with while he was driving to the studio to record the Paradise Theatre album, a catchy tune that he came up with and worked with the rest of the band, resulting in “Too Much Time on My Hands.” The music video for this song debuted in the first hour of MTV.
The rest of the band departed from the stage, Gowan took his spot at his keyboard for a musical interlude of “Khedive.” Gowan shared that the first band he saw play live after Covid or “the thing”, was Genesis, and played a piece from “Turn It On Again.” Gowan said the last show that he saw before “the thing” was Elton John, and played a part of “Rocket Man.” Chuck Panozzo joined Gowan on stage and performed a piece of “Lost At Sea.” The STYX set closed out with “Come Sail Away,” “Mr. Roboto,” and “Renegade.”
STYX photo gallery
An entertaining night of music. Getting these three bands on one bill is surely a historical moment, some nearly five decades later. The Live and Unzoomed tour is just finishing up the 3rd leg of the tour. Be sure to get out and catch this show.