The Midwest Rock N Roll Express tour featuring Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon and Styx came to Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday June 26th.
I was surprised to find that Ted Nugent was leading off the show, but I was ok with that as I was pretty excited to see Uncle Ted & company play again. Ted Nugent’s band is rounded out by Derek St. Holmes on rhythm guitar and vocals, “Wild” Mick Brown on drums and Greg Smith on bass. St. Holmes rejoined Ted Nugent’s band in 2011, and is the voice of several of Ted Nugent’s hits including “Free For All”, “Cat Scratch Fever”, “Stranglehold”, “Hey Baby” and “Just What The Doctor Ordered”. The band played all of these songs and more and have never sounded better. St. Holmes still has an awesome voice, and Ted Nugent is a lot of fun to watch play. He makes a lot of crazy faces while playing the guitar, and isn’t afraid to say anything in his live set. “Wild” Mick Brown looks like his is having the time of his life playing drums for Ted Nugent. It was good to see him behind the drum kit.
REO Speedwagon is the second band to take the stage, and quite frankly, I didn’t know what to expect. This is the first time that I saw REO Speedwagon live, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. I had forgotten how many great songs REO Speedwagon has. Lead singer Kevin Cronin sounds exactly the same as he did back in the 80’s. His voice is spot on perfect. The main highlight of the evening was REO’s performance of their song “Back on the Road Again”. This song is great hard rocker through and through, and while I have never considered REO Speedwagon a hard rock band, this song made me rethink this. After the show, I immediately went online and purchased the band’s albums, Nine Lives and Hi Infidelity. I am hoping that REO Speedwagon comes back to town again sometime in the near future. I can’t wait to hear these songs live again.
Styx is he headliner and the Midwest Rock N Roll Express tour and rightfully so! If you are one of those fans that won’t see the band due to Dennis DeYoung not being in the band, you are truly missing out. Styx was on fire on Tuesday night, and played a ton of their hits including “Blue Collar Man”, “Grand Illusion”, “Man in The Wilderness”, “Fooling Yourself”, “Too Much Time On My Hands”, “Lady”, “Lorelei “Miss America”, “Come Sail Away”, “Rockin’ The Paradise and “Renegade”. Styx’s current lineup is James “J.Y.” Young on vocals and guitar, Tommy Shaw on vocals and guiar, Todd Sucherman on drums, Lawrence Gowan on keyboards and vocals, and Ricky Phillips on bass. Tommy Shaw has been a favorite musician of mine for a long time now. His voice is still amazing after all of these years. This is the second time I have seen Styx with this lineup, and they have put on a tremendous show both times, but I think this one was my favorite of the two I have seen. The band had Chuck Panazzo come out to play a few songs towards the middle of the set. It was good see Chuck back on bass again too!
Although, Styx, Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon will continue tour for the rest of the year. The Midwest Rock N Roll Express only has 5 dates left. Be sure to
check it out if it hits your town. It was great night of rock and roll in Cincinnati, and I am very glad that I went!
The remaining dates of the Midwest Rock N Roll Express Tour are listed below.
Tue 7/3 Verona, NY Turning Stone Resort Casino
Thu 7/5 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Fri 7/6 Big Flats, NY Summer Stage
Sat 7/7 Gilford, NY Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion
Sat 7/8 Bangor, ME Bangor Waterfront Pavilion
Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Styx Photo Gallery