Tuesday, December 24, 2013

REO Speedwagon-Live at Moondance Jam

Frontiers Records

When it comes to acknowledging my wide-range of tastes I've never been one to to simply shy away. Whether it's with movies (musicals to horror flicks) or in this case music (ABBA to Napalm Death) I have always tried to keep an open mind and not hide the fact that I'm just not the sort of fella that you can fit perfectly into some square box! So, if I admit that I have REO Speedwagon in my personal CD collection just roll with it accept it for what it is! With that cat out of the bag let's turn our attention to this CD/DVD combo. Recorded at Minnesota's largest rock festival, "Live at Moondance Jam" comes 30 years after the release of the group's ninth studio-album, "Hi Infidelity". Given that revelation it should come as little to no surprise that the group, which is lead as always by the ageless Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, keyboards), chooses to open this live disc with "Don't Let Go" before rolling out fellow "High Infidelity" tracks "Keep On Loving You", "In Your Letter" (reportedly this is first ever live version of the song!) and "Take It On the Run". Despite the fact that these cuts are now 30 years old they still come across as timeless, but then again shouldn't that always be the case with great rock and roll? If there's one thing to take away from this live recording it's how amazing Kevin Cronin still sounds! As the band runs through classic tracks like "Keep on Loving You," "Take It on the Run," "Can’t Fight This Feeling," "Time for Me to Fly", "Roll with the Changes" and "Ridin' the Storm Out" Kevin proves his worth as one of classic rocks' better front-men and gives REO Speedwagon plenty to cheer about! For a band that (roughly) formed back in the late sixties(!) you would be hard-pressed to realize that given how much youthful energy they pump into a number like "Roll with the Changes"! And then there's the coolness that comes from cuts like "157 Riverside Avenue" (with it's multiple-instrumental solos this is one cut that is awesome when played live!), "Keep Pushin'" and, all the way back from REO Speedwagon's 1972 album, "R.E.O./T.W.O.", "Golden Country". That last number, "Golden Country", is another highlight as it shows off the band's early progressive rock roots and proves that you can change the musical direction of your band and still make respectable music. That's something that the current version of Boston could take a cue from! With Dave Amato on lead guitar, Bruce Hall on bass, Neal Doughty on keyboards and Bryan Hitt on drums this live recording from REO Speedwagon makes for a splendid addition to any fan's collection! As an added bonus both the CD/DVD and CD/Blu-ray editions of "Live at Moondance Jam" feature an interview with REO Speedwagon's lead vocalist Kevin Cronin. For fans that should serve as even more incentive although it's doubtful they would need it!  While this release came as a surprise for me as I didn't actually request it by name (the physical CD/DVD version that is as I had the digital promo already) I'm still glad that I received it in the mail. I'm usually skittish about reviewing only one aspect of releases like this so I'm glad that I was able to preview the whole package together as it helps to be able to both hear and see a band like this perform some of their classic hits. While this one would make for a nice holiday gift I wager that it's a bit late for that idea. Still, this CD/DVD combo is one that I'm recommending for fans both old and young and, even if it would be a tad late for a Christmas present,  it would still be a wonderful gift for that classic rock fan in your life!

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They are still around - I am impressed!

1:36 PM  

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