REO Speedwagon, Gig Review. Echo Arena, Liverpool.


Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

There are many things that are remiss in this world, the fact that valiant AOR specialists REO Speedwagon have never made the journey to the heart of British music, the city that gave modern music to the masses, is surely one of them. Yet if the band were going to visit Liverpool for the first ever time then to be in the Echo Arena as the Christmas cheer bit down hard as the headliners played their last ever electric gig on British soil, then that was a present for many in the audience worth waiting for.

The most expansive tour the band had ever played in the islands off Europe was one that might have had a more enlightened Dorothy tell her dog Toto that not only were they painfully no longer in Kansas but the cheap trick of regret was one to be ignored and to be an icon in Liverpool was the pinnacle of long and illustrious career.

To be a survivor in music, one must always be ready to go the extra mile, to go to the places where perhaps the audience wants you to go but never dares dreams is possible; for REO Speedwagon, the call perhaps was finally too much, to exciting a prospect to turn down and whilst there may have been a few in the audience who were not aware of just how great, how pivotal the band were in the AOR movement, they were soon won over by a decent and fist clenching set by the support act.

Opening with the songs Don’t Let Him Go and Take It On The Run, the influence of the music of The Beatles was obvious, even without proclaiming in during their set with a very cool version of I Saw Her Standing There, REO Speedwagon gave a very decent account of themselves during a night that was unique in many different ways.

With songs such as the excellent Can’t Fight This Feeling, Son of A Poor Man, Back on the Road Again and Keep On Loving You all hitting the mark, Christmas 2016 had some good cheer for the Rock fan in Liverpool; the final countdown of the year was in good hands.

Ian D. Hall