Monday, August 6, 2018

REO Speedwagon and Chicago in Tampa, Florida

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL 7-21-18
By Michael Yanko
Rock Legends Photographers

This venue is perfect for a professional concert photographer. There is plenty of room to shoot, the lighting is excellent, the staff is helpful, professional, friendly from top to bottom, and the location easy to get to.

Michelle Wilson and I thoroughly enjoyed our evening there which was highlighted by another outstanding performance by REO Speedwagon. Lead singer/guitarist/frontman Kevin Cronin's energy was contagious as he quickly took charge and led the crowd through REO hits from over the years. 

Even though REO only has one original member, keyboardist Neal Doughty, the newest band member drummer Bryan Hitt has been with the band for 28 years.

 The cohesion of a band that has played together for almost three decades shows in every performance along with their joy in playing together.

Lead guitarist Dave Amato joined the band in 1989 and although he doesn't quite have the sound that founding Guitarist Gary Richrath squeezed out of his Gibson (nobody can duplicate that sound), he does a fantastic job of hitting the right notes on every song.

Bassist Bruce Hall joined the band in 1974 and has done a wonderful job playing low notes to all the hits REO has produced over the years. Bruce sang lead vocals on the hit "Back on the Road Again" and wrote a handful of other REO songs over the years.

The man that makes it all come together is definitely band leader, Kevin Cronin. His voice is still as strong as ever and he has no difficulty in hitting every note of every song. He obviously keeps himself in great shape and is a superb performer.

REO thrilled the almost capacity crowd with hit after hit and was happy to return to the stage for a two-song encore including a tribute to Tom Petty.

After a brief intermission, Chicago took the stage. They played the entirety of their second album before playing the hits that everyone came to hear. 

The band is made up of great musicians including four original members, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walt Parazaider (no longer touring though). Their set was two hours long and those who stayed for the second hour were treated to perfect performances of some of their hits.

Michael Tolcher opened the evening with a twenty-minute acoustic set. He was good, but I'm sure that every fan in the house would have much rather had twenty more minutes of REO.

To see all the photos of Chicago taken by Michael Yanko and Michelle Wilson in beautiful high resolution visit 

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