Styx, REO Speedwagon and Don Felder of The Eagles recently carried their ‘United We Rock’ summer tour through Tampa’s Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater, but the weather wasn’t on the side of rock and roll as heavy thunderstorms washed through the opening performance from Felder.
This was not just your typical thunderstorm; we’re talking about the full-fledged downpour that Tampa Bay concert fans are all-too accustomed to.
Rain delays set the time between Felder’s opening set and REO Speedwagon’s well over an hour, yet most of the packed crowd stuck around despite the change in weather for what would be a memorable evening of live hard rock spun by two of the hardest working bands out there.
Speaking of under the weather, REO lead vocalist Kevin Cronin was given doctor’s orders to rest his voice and not perform. Did that stop him and the rest of REO Speedwagon from carrying on through the night? Not even close. “We are here, and we are gonna rock!” Cronin told the crowd, his voice showing some wear and tear but ultimately sounding better as the night progressed.
The 1976 staple “Keep Pushin'” and the rocking ‘Hi Infidelity’ anthem “Don’t Let Him Go” were among the set highlights, not to mention the massive renditions of “Riding The Storm Out” and “Roll With The Changes” which felt all too fitting on this blustery night in Tampa.
With the worst of the weather behind them, Styx were well pumped to take over the headlining spot, fueled even further by their new prog rock concept album masterwork titled ‘The Mission.’ Armed with fresh material and a newly revised stage layout, Styx bolted onstage to the themes of their two minute single “Gone, Gone, Gone,” which was then paired with the classic selections “Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)” and “The Grand Illusion.”
Flooding with a concoction of energetic showmanship and on par vocal harmonies, Styx delivered knockout blows with “Light Up,” “Crystal Ball,” and another new rowdy number in “Radio Silence” – this one helmed by Tommy Shaw on lead vocals, which helped round out the song’s ambient “Man In The Wilderness” feel.
“They have lifted the curfew and we’re going to keep going!” keyboardist and vocalist Lawrence Gowan told the crowd as the show drifted closer to midnight, just before leading into a sing-along of Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the band’s own definitive power ballad “Come Sail Away.”
Despite all of the show’s rain delays, the members of Styx still delivered a prominent performance, even returning for a two song encore; showers of confetti descended over the crowd to the cue of the ‘Paradise Theater’ fan favorite “Rockin’ the Paradise,” followed by yet another favorite in “Renegade.”