June 23, 2009

Rockin' Into the Night


For a birthday treat to myself this year, I bought a ticket for Merriweather Post Pavillion to see some great classic rock bands of the 80's. I try to see at least one "oldies" concert each year, and this one had a super lineup of artists.

First off was .38 Special, with three guitarists, one bass, one drummer, and one keyboardist. Their biggest known hit is probably "Hold On Loosely", which they used as their closing number. However, I was surprised at the number of other songs they performed that I also recognized. I guess I didn't realize how many hits they actually had. Here was their setlist for the night (with songs I knew in italics):
  • Rockin' Into the Night
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • Back Where You Belong
  • Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
  • Fantasy Girl
  • an 80's medley of various hits, including:
    • Teacher, Teacher
    • Stone Cold Believer
    • Like No Other Night
    • Second Chance (great song, by the way)
    • Caught Up In You
  • Hold On Loosely
All in all, a great way to start off the night. They played for about 45 minutes and then big the crowd good night. The stagehands quickly tore down their setup, and put together the Styx set pieces. This was the band I had really come to see, as I was a big fan during the 80's. It was a five-piece, with two guitars, one bass, one keys, and one drummer. Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan had a cool keyboard that rotated 360 degrees on a platform, so that he could play it while walking around in a circle. He was quite the showman, playing the keys behind his back on certain songs. Singer/guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young were also obviously having a good time, trading song vocals and guitar solos back and forth. All the singing and tight harmonies were top notch, and I knew every single song they performed. Their setlist for the night included the following:
  • Miss America
  • Too Much Time On My Hands
  • The Grand Illusion
  • Lorelei
  • I Am the Walrus
  • Crystal Ball
  • Suite Madame
  • Fooling Yourself
  • Come Sail Away
  • Blue Collar Man (encore)
  • Renegade (encore)
After their encore, they threw Styx frisbees, beach balls, t-shirts, guitar picks, and other stuff into the audience. Lawrence introduced all the band, took their pictures with a Polaroid camera, and tossed the pics into the audience as well. Fun times indeed.

Closing the night was REO Speedwagon. Of the three bands, this was my least favorite. I knew maybe three of their songs, including "Time For Me To Fly" (because this was chosen to be my high school Class of '82 graduation song). Ack. Anyway, their set comprised the following tunes:
  • Don't Let Him Go
  • Take It On the Run
  • Keep Pushin'
  • Golden Country
  • Can't Fight This Feelin'
  • (didn't catch this song as I needed a bathroom break)
  • Time For Me to Fly
By then, it was close to 10:30, and I decided to bail early. They only had one other song I knew -- "Keep On Loving You" -- but I didn't feel like waiting around 'til the end for them to sing it. I'm sure they would use that as their closer. Anyway, quite an enjoyable night of classic rock goodness.