Styx and REO Speedwagon and Nugent

Every summer music fans trust Cincinnati’s Riverbend Music Center to be musical mecca, with a show schedule that satisfies all ages, backgrounds, and musical tastes.  Rarely, however, do those fans all show up on the same night. On June 26 the seats of PNC Pavilion and the brand-spanking new AstroTurf surrounding it were packed with the most eclectic audience I’ve ever seen. So what tour brought out such an interesting crowd you ask? One co-headlined by Styx and REO Speedwagon and opened by Ted Nugent of course.

Whether they were dressed in leather, camouflage, or khaki, the crowd came alive to cheer for Ted Nugent as he took the stage a bit earlier than expected. The outspoken rocker claimed to want to have enough time to go fishing while in Cincinnati. In between a set featuring mostly his more well-known hits, the Motor City Madman lived up to his mouthy reputation. Politics were, not surprisingly, his favorite topic, but he also tossed out a much appreciated shout out to the service men and women attending the show.

The mood lightened considerably the moment REO Speedwagon took the stage. They played their set well, avoiding the more sugar-coated hits of the late 80’s, backed by a video montage that really enhanced the time-warp feeling of the night.

I’ve always had a preference for bands that put on a good live show and Styx delivered exactly that. You might expect the rotating keyboard surrounded by fog and lights, to give off a cheesy vibe, but the Styx stage show felt one hundred percent authentic. Their loyal fans, whether they be twenty-something students or retired lifelong followers, sung along to their favorite tunes for a performance that had everyone out of their seats and dancing.

As we left, I was touched by the shared energy and camaraderie of such a diverse group of people. It was an unexpected reminder of how much power good music actually holds. I have to say that my favorite tune of the night was the one featuring the sounds of a seriously satisfied audience as they made their way out into the parking lot and back to their very different lives.


Kate Kinman/ Columbus Wired

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