Photo by Michael Stewart

It’s 1980. The Post-It Note takes the world by storm. Everyone was fascinated with this crazy new toy called the Rubik’s Cube. Illinois’ own REO Speedwagon releases what would become their highest selling album: Hi Infidelity. With over 10 million copies sold and four US Top 40 hits, Hi Infidelity was simply a masterpiece that would withstand the test of time.

Fast forward twenty(one) years to a hot and muggy night in Louisville, Kentucky. The high chance of strong storms did not frighten the fans away. Ready to ride the storm out Kentuckians of all ages packed the Iroquois Amphitheater. Due to the pandemic, the show was postponed a year. Many fans, including myself, were overwhelmed with emotions when the lights dropped and the first chords of “Music Man” filled the hills of Iroquois Park.

All five members came rushing on to stage simultaneously, ready to take on the night. Kevin Cronin’s energy was matched by the elated crowd as he transitioned right into “Keep Pushin’”. Founding member Neal Doughty was on fire playing his first of many keyboard solos. Only to be matched by a solo from the one and only Dave Amato. At the conclusion of the song, Kevin greeted the crowd like he would an old friend, heartfelt and ecstatic. Acknowledging the postponement and the year and a half wait to play live again, Kevin assured us the wait would be worth it. Announcing Hi Infidelity has reached its 40th birthday caused the crowd to cheer in celebration. Without hesitation, Bruce Hall takes over center stage to sing “Someone Tonight”.

The moment “Take it on the Run” started I shed a tear or two. The entire crowd shot out of their seats. Singing at the top of their lungs while hugging their friends, swaying to the beat. The chills come back just recalling that moment. Seeing humans that happy and together after the year and a half we all experience was simply surreal. I know the band felt it too. The smiles on the faces of Cronin, Amato, and Hall as they joined to play the legendary guitar feature said it all. The energy never faltered as the guys hammered out hit after hit. In between songs Amato entertained us with some sensually smooth jazz licks.

Cronin took the next few moments to announce he is writing a memoir. During his soul searching for inspirations for his book he had a realization that changed his outlook on the next song. The song that has without a doubt been the first dance at many weddings and was assumed to be about a girl if fact wasn’t. Kevin stated that when he revisited writing process of the song, he came to realize it was in fact about his own self fears. The song reflected his emotions at the time. A personal favorite of mine now has a whole new meaning. As Doughty started the first noted of “Can’t Fight This Feeling” I once again had tears and chills. Knowing the true meaning of the song brought on a whole new wave of emotions.

After the emotional moment the last song created Cronin decided to lighten the mood with a funny story. He paints the scene: Louisville in 1972. They just finished playing Freedom Hall, where they opened for Grand Funk Railroad. A few whistles and hollers from the crowd would lead one to believe some of tonight’s fans were there as well. Kevin continues the story saying their management had put them up in the Executive Inn. Any true Louvillian knows that hotel isn’t known for the best of things and laughed. This was confirmed when Kevin shared that he was roaming the halls looking for the good kind of fun. As he was turning a corner, he notices a giant 6-foot-tall brickhouse of a man wearing a homemade REO Speedwagon football jersey. After complimenting the man on it he rips his shirt off giving it to Kevin. Bringing us back to the present, Kevin warmly smiles while saying he knows when he comes to Louisville, Kentucky he knows we are the kind of people who would give him the shirts off out backs.

As the night went on the heartfelt Midwestern Rock and roll continued. Masterful and fun solos from the entire band filled spaces between songs. In apparently true Louisville fashion, a red “Louisville” shirt landed on stage. Kevin proudly held it up and thanked whoever sent it his way. “Time for me to Fly” brought the fans back to their feet, proving the heat wasn’t going to slow anyone down.

Just when we thought it wouldn’t end, the telltale sign of the end of an REO Speedwagon show filled the air. Any true Midwesterner knows a tornado siren can only mean one thing. OK well, two, but it wasn’t a Tuesday afternoon, and this wasn’t a test. A storm was coming, and the crowd was ready to ride it out. It was the most electrifying moment of the whole night. Obviously, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” is a crowd favorite and the favorite for the band to play. Once it ended, the stage went dark signaling the end of a show. People started to gather their things and head for the exit, only to be frozen in place as the band runs back on stage to serenade us with “Keep on Loving You”. Rejoicing as the song ended and “Roll With the Changes” immediately started the crowd, and myself, rocked out to our final song of the night.

Photo by Michael Stewart

REO Speedwagon maintains their legendary status and sounds just as good, if not better, than they did 40 years ago when Hi Infidelity hit the stands. Coming off the lull of the pandemic, REO Speedwagon is making sure the entire country gets a chance to see this amazing show. With shows from now until December 14th they are sure to come to a city near you. Head over to to see tour dates and grab your tickets!


Setlist for Louisville KY on July 26, 2021

  1. Music Man
  2. Keep Pushin’
  3. Don’t Let Him Go
  4. Someone Tonight
  5. Take It on the Run
  6. Tough Guys
  7. Can’t Fight This Feeling
  8. Son of a Poor Man
  9. Golden Country
  10. Like You Do
  11. Time for Me to Fly
  12. Back on the Road Again
  13. Ridin’ the Storm Out


14. Keep On Loving You

15. Roll With the Changes

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