My Classic Concert Weekend
This weekend was a wild one for me, with 2 concerts and 3 legendary bands in 48 hours.
First up was Chicago and REO Speedwagon Friday night at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford. I have always unashamedly been an REO fan and they did not disappoint. They have many summers of Classic Rock package tours under their belt and really know how to maximize their time onstage. They opened the show promptly at 7:30 with a rocking version of “Don’t Let Him Go,” right into an early one “Music Man” and then directly into “Take It On The Run” before even saying “Hello.” They did a solid hour of hit after hit: “Tough Guys,” Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Time For Me To Fly.” 3 of their biggest songs were missing from the set, and singer Kevin Cronin dropped a big hint about what was to come later in the show.
After a quick break it was time for Chicago. I had seen them in the 80’s when they had just come off a string of huge power-ballad hits, and that particular show was very slow because they couldn’t not play any of those songs. No such worries this time. They kicked their set off with the medley that takes up most of side 2 of “Chicago II:” the long version of “Make Me Smile” that includes “Colour My World.” After that was their horn-based powerhouse “Questions 67 & 68″ and a set that spanned their career, from “Beginnings” and “I’m A Man” through “You’re The Inspiration.” Trombone player James Pankow introduced their 70’s hit “Just You & Me” by dedicating it to “anyone that got married or conceived to this song.” Founding member Robert Lamm was in great voice throughout the show, as was bassist Jason Scheff, who took over for Peter Cetera back in the 80’s. He absolutely nailed all of the Cetera songs, especially the treat of another long version, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” which segued right into the funky “Get Away” just like on the album. “Saturday In The Park” and a shortened “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” had everyone singing along, and then it was time for a treat.
REO Speedwagon came back out and both bands played the encores, trading vocals on “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” “Free,” “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” “Roll With The Changes” and finally “25 or 6 to 4.” Everyone in both bands seemed to be having a great time onstage, and everyone in the audience went home smiling.
After taking Saturday night off from my wild rock & roll lifestyle, it was back out on Sunday for the Moody Blues at the Ives Concert Park. It was great to meet and talk to so many awesome I-95 listeners. Thanks for stopping by our tent on the way in! I had a vintage I-95 tie dyed t-shirt on which I got many requests for. (Sorry, that one’s mine!)
The Moodies hit the stage with a triple shot of hits: “Gemini Dream,” “The Voice” and “Steppin’ In a Slide Zone” before playing several deeper cuts in a row much to the delight of the hardcore fans that were there. They wrapped up the first set with a couple more hits, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” and “The Story In Your Eyes” and took a quick break. The second set was full of hits including “Your Wildest Dreams,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “I’m Just A Singer In A Rock & Roll Band” and of course “Nights In White Satin.” They encored with “Question,” and “Ride My See-Saw” sent everyone home. We had the added bonus of great weather; the Moody Blues have played at the Ives twice before and it rained both times. Last night however, the weather was perfect. Both Justin Hayward and John Lodge can still sing great and the harmonies were exactly as they should have been. The show did seem a little short as there was no opening act, but I wasn’t complaining when I was home by 10PM with another week staring me in the face!
All in all it was a great weekend full of Classic songs. I am glad I went to both shows and got to see three legendary bands. On the other hand, I am very much looking to doing nothing this coming weekend!