REO Speedwagon came to H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center to spread a message of unity and love by performing their old and new music on Sept. 18.
The band was introduced by Charlie Farren, a rock musician who was lead vocalist for bands Farenheit and The Joe Perry Project.
Farren played some of his slower rock songs such as “Nobody’s Somebody,” “Hold Me Down and Love Me” and “Old and Young,” which was about his decision to continue being a musician after putting his music on hold to raise a family.
Farren also played a song from when he was with the band Farrenheit called “Fool in Love.” His music warmed the crowd up as he incorporated humor into his setlist, joking as he introduced himself.
REO Speedwagon then took the stage, lead singer Kevin Cronin wore bright yellow sunglasses, and flung guitar pics that were taped to the back of his mic into the crowd.
The band has been around since 1967, and they signed their first recording contract in 1971.
Since then, they have been providing music to fans that has sold 22 million albums and 40 million albums world-wide.
Cronin sang a few songs, the screech of the guitar changing the mood from the calm of Farren’s slower rock songs to REO Speedwagon’s faster rock songs.
He then introduced the band, Neal Doughty, the only remaining founding member, on the keyboard and piano, Bruce Hall on bass, Dave Amato, lead guitarist and Bryan Hitt on drums and percussion.
Cronin jokingly discussed how he was disappointed about not visiting the oldest hardware store to buy a red Radio Flyer wagon in Pennsylvania.
Cronin then went on to talk about how REO Speedwagon’s music keeps them young.
“We are living proof that rock ’n’ roll will keep you young forever,” he said.
With that, he sang “Can’t Fight This Feeling” as proof that rock ’n’ roll can have love songs, too.
The band sang “Tough Guys” and “Son of a Poor Man,” then moved into songs from their album “Hi Infidelity,” which Cronin explained was a popular album for them.
The band sang “I Wish You Were There” and “Someone Tonight,” to which Bruce Hall sang lead vocals.
Cronin then shared his story of their trip to Israel, and his mission to talk to the people about the divide that is going on there.
He spoke to a man who asked him what kind of songs Cronin sang, and that he should sing songs that unite people and find common ground.
Cronin sang his songs on the rooftop of the Bethlehem Peace Museum, and taught him “how powerful music can be” when uniting people.
This reminded him of how he toured in Pennsylvania, which was big for the band. Cronin felt so proud when people knew one song.
He would never forget that feeling.
“The room began to make the connection between the audience and the band. I thought one day, wouldn’t it be cool if we came back to PA one day and the audience knew all the songs?” Cronin said.
They then broke into the popular song “Take It On the Run” and the audience stood up as it played.
REO Speedwagon played some more of their hits, including “Time for Me to Fly,” “Riding the Storm,” and “Keep on Loving You,” which Cronin explained changed the trajectory of his life when he wrote down the three chords for the song.
Cronin kept flinging more guitar pics out at the audience throughout the entire show, all the way up until the end when they sang their final song. The crowd clapped and cheered when he went on a spree of throwing the pics into the audience.
REO Speedwagon closed with “Roll with the Changes,” and Cronin ended with “Keep on rollin’
Shippensburg, keep on rollin’.”