REO SPEEDWAGON, STYX, TED NUGENT – “Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express Tour” – Vernon NY

Review | Photography by: Nadine Swiger

Central New York started an early Independence Day celebration on the “Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express!” It was all aboard as Ted Nugent, Styx and Reo Speedwagon led this Party train into a Rockin’ July 3rd night at the The Turning Stone casino Event Center .

There’s nothing like a great rock show to make all the trouble of the day go away. After an amazing crappy day, I was ready to Rock! Ted Nugent was just the cure I needed to put a smile back on my face! I saw him years ago with Damn Yankees but somehow I always missed him on his solo tours. He was just as I anticipated him to be; loud, American Proud and one over the top rocker that possesses a lot of soul! The theme of his performance was “remember where you came from” as the crowd encouraged his USA antics and propaganda about how the government takes one American fan’s money and how he would like to get it back.

His stage had a big screen backdrop with an animated Ted Nugent logo, a tower of Marshall amps with what I could count was 20 guitars (he is proud of his USA made Gibson guitars) and topped off with an American flag.

Crazy with the “cat scratch fever,” Mr. Nugent seems like he’s still has fun playing the same classic tunes and the crowd just can’t seem to get enough of it.  The songs have such infectious bass lines paired with some awesome slide guitar solos and over the top duets that rocked!  He left the crowd, standing on their feet in applause that I’m sure could be hear at the blackjack tables on the other side of the casino.

Now speaking of Damn Yankees, Ted’s fellow band mate, Tommy Shaw was up next with his band Styx! These guys were simply amazing live. The chemistry and musicianship was tiptop, an  A++ if you will and if that was not enough, do you remember how in 1979 ever guy wished they were as cool as them; you couldn’t help but notice their sharp sense of style is still sharp as ever.  Their stage presence absolutely steals the “cat’s meow!”

During the show, Styx was reminiscing of a time when radio stations would be spinning vinyl on the air, it was all a simpler time. The thing I love the most about the musician’s who started out during that “vinyl generation” is that they had to know how to play their instruments, sing on key without any levels being raised during the recording and they were all truly talented musicians that had to practice their songs until perfection! Styx is evident of this;

they hit every high note so fluently, coming across so natural and effortlessly. They sounded great and were very impressive to witness live. And the showmanship on stage of a solid uniform band shines through, bright and clear as they genuinely have a great time together. The crowd was in the palm of their hand from the start. They even had the ushers tapping their toes, some even clapping along and dancing. Literally, everyone who was present couldn’t help but feel Styx’s rhythm and enjoy the show!  Once again leaving the crowd on their feet and cheering crazy loud, before they returned with “Rockin’ the Paradise” and then into “Renegade” which do I dare say, the harmonies were stronger than on the album and much more powerful live! What an amazing way to end a set!

I show was well worth the ticket price and Reo Speedwagon was just about to kick everything into overdrive. They were the band that everyone danced to at their prom in the 1980’s. Once again, they are a band that grew out of a time of record players and 8 track tapes, where musicians were real musicians. You can’t help but find yourself mesmerizes by the talent on stage as you are embraced by each note. These guys also have a great time on stage and of course that spread onto the crowd like a wild fire in the dead dry heat of a California summer! It was very touching and moving to watch the guys in the crowd grabbing their girls during “Can’t Fight This Feeling” as it was obvious that the song had a special place in each those couple’s hearts.

About 1/2 way through Reo Speedwagon’s set, vocalist Kevin Cronin stated that they were done screwing around and that it was time to get serious with the heavy hitters and that was exactly what they did. They went on to play those huge block buster hits, one after another – “Time For Me To Fly,” “Roll With The Changes” “Keep On Loving You” to name just a few. You left the show, still singing those beloved songs the next morning.

What a wonderful way to kick off an Independence Day Celebration! There were only a few more shows left with this tour before all three bands go out on their own headlining tours. See dates below:.










7/5 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
7/6 Big Flats, NY @ Summer Stage
7/7 Gilford, NY @ Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion
7/8 Bangor, ME @ Waterfront Pavilion

7/26 West Bend, WI @ Washington County Fair Park
7/28 London, Ontario @ Harris Park (Dundas Street and Talbot Street)
7/29 Mt. Pleasant, MI @ Soaring Eagle Casino Resort
7/31 Thunderbay, Ontario @ Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
8/02 Wausau, WI @ Wisconsin Valley Fair Grandstand
8/03 Davenport, IA @ Mississippi Valley Fair
8/04 Washington, MO @ Washington Town & Country Fair
8/06 Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana State Fairgrounds
8/16 Ramapo, NY @ Provident Bank Park
8/17 Niagra, ON (CAN) @ Fallsview Casino
8/18 Niagra, ON (CAN) @ Fallsview Casino
8/21 Kennewick, WA @ Benton Franklin Fair
8/23 Snoqualmie, WA @ Snoqualmie Casino – Mountain View Plaza
8/25 Lincoln, CA @ Thunder Valley Casino
8/26 Valley Center, CA @ Harrah’s Rincon Open Sky Theater
8/30 Oshkosh, WI @ Leach Amphitheater
8/31 Prior Lake, MN @ Mystic Lake Casino
9/02 Elkhorn, WI @ Walworth County Fair
9/13 York, PA @ York Fair

7/19 Interlochen, MI @ Kresge Auditorium
7/21 Goshen, IN @ Elkhart County Fair
7/22 Harrington, DE @ Delaware State Fair
8/03 Waverly, IA @ Bremer County Fair
8/04 Anderson, IN @ Hoosier Park Racing Casino
8/05 Muskegon, MI @ Frauenthal Center
8/07 West Allis, WI @ Wisconsin State Fair
8/08 Sioux Falls, SD @ Sioux Empire Fair
8/11 Pittsburgh, PA @ PNC Park
8/24 Boise, ID @ Western Idaho Fair
8/25 Albany, OR @ Oregon Amphitheater
8/26 Palmer, AK @ Alaska State Fair
8/27 Monroe, WA @ Evergreen State Fair
8/31 Marshfield, WI @ Central Wisconsin State Fair
9/01 New Lenox, IL @ New Lenox Commons
9/02 Wauseon, OH @ Fulton County Fair
9/06 Lincoln, CA @ Thunder Valley Casino Resort
9/07 Madera, CA @ Madera District Fair
9/09 Saratoga, CA @ The Mountain Winery
9/11 Redding, CA @ Cascade Theatre
9/13 Spokane, WA @ Interstate Fair
9/15 Deadwood, SD @ Deadwood Jam
11/09 Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Casino and Resort
11/14 Provo, UT @ Covey Center for the Arts

Opening Act: Laura Wilde
7/10 Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theatre
7/11 Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights
7/13 Jackson, MI @Thrills in the Irish Hills Bike Festival
7/14 LaPorte, IN @ LaPorte County Fair
7/26 Union Grove, WI @ Racine County Fair
7/27 Mahnomen, MN @Shooting Star Casino
7/28 Red Wing, MN @ Treasure Island Casino
7/30 New Brunswick, NJ @ State Theatre
7/31 Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
8/01 Westbury, NY @ Theatre at Westbury
8/03 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
8/04 Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
8/05 Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
8/06 Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
8/07 Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
8/09 Durham, NC @ Durham Performing Arts Center
8/10 Chester, WV @ Harv Arena at Mountaineer Casino
8/11 Maumee, OH @ Northwest Ohio Rib-Off
8/12 Hamburg, NY @ Erie County Fair
8/13 Traverse, MI @ Leelanau Casino
8/14 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
8/15 Beaver Dam, WI @ Dodge County Fair
8/16 Indianapolis, IN @ Indiana State Fair
8/18 Florence, IN @ Belterra Casino & Resort
8/20 Knoxville, TN @ Tennessee Theatre
8/21 Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29
8/22 Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
8/24 Biloxi, MS @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
8/25 Ft. Worth, TX @ Billy Bob’s












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12 Responses to “REO SPEEDWAGON, STYX, TED NUGENT – “Midwest Rock-n-Roll Express Tour” – Vernon NY”

  1. Tweeted your write up!

  2. gold account says:

    Looking at that list of concerts brings back memories. I was at the April 8th show, the last day of a massive two day extravaganza at the cavernous L.A. Coliseum. The Saturday headliners were Ted Nugent and Cheap Trick, with Aero and Van Halen the stars for Sunday. Van Halen were just coming into their own at the time and were huge, especially in their home town of L.A. Playing before Aero and being the hot new flavor, I was curious to see if they were going to upstage my band. They did put on a good show, but there was one disconcerting glitch. Good ole Diamond Dave, to no one’s surprise, was so full of himself that he would quite often basically shut the concert down so that he could talk and preen for the audience. While some people may like this, I prefer a minimum of banter and mostly non-stop rocking tunes, so all this accomplished for me is just slowing down the entire show. Even the band appeared somewhat annoyed, since they have to quietly play in the background while he goes off on his self indulgent verbal tangents. Of course there is no denying his appeal as a front man and the crowd certainly enjoyed them, thus making me wonder once again how Aero was going to respond. Fortunately and not to any great surprise, they came out and kicked a**, putting on a very solid performance highlighted by a great setlist, and the crowd totally dug them also. Little did anyone know at the time that Joe would shortly be leaving the band, and I would not see them again until August of ’83, which is why I wasn’t sure they were still touring in December of ’79, with or without Joe. They may not have played in SoCal during those four years; at least Joe’s Project did. As fun as those concerts were, I can’t say that I really miss monster outdoor shows anymore.

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