The Best of Times


Tomorrow night Kim and I will join hundreds of other old farts for the first outdoor concert of the season in OKC. REO Speedwagon and Styx will be at the Zoo Amphitheater. Twenty-something years ago this would have been the biggest tour on the planet. Today … well … Gary Richrath won’t be there to make his guitar talk to Kevin Cronin during “157 Riverside Avenue” and Dennis DeYoung won’t be lending his voice to “Babe” and everyone on the stage and in the audience will have a few more wrinkles … and such.

The first concert I ever saw was was Styx on the “Kilroy Was Here” tour in 1983. Yes, with Mr. Roboto. And yes, that one was with Kim, too. We’ve been together forever. My crappy little Toyota Corona wasn’t reliable enough to get us to OKC from Enid, so we had to have my dad drive us there and back. It rained like crazy when the show let out, so we were soaked when we got in the car. 

We didn’t see REO during their heyday. I think it was 11 years ago this summer when we first saw them. This will be the third time we’ll see them. They still put on a hell of a show, despite working some new crap into the set every time. In fact, I wish they’d let me write their set list for them so they’d play “Son of a Poor Man” and “Good Trouble” instead of some of the later ballads. That one about the lonely night … ewwww.

In the first few years of the 1980s Styx and REO Speedwagon made up most of my cassette collection. I had everything they’d released, even REO’s Lost in a Dream, a real stinker. Hi Infidelity and Paradise Theatre were the best albums since … well, since Kiss released Destroyer, as far as I was concerned. It was a few years later when I discovered Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. It was an in-between time. I was old enough to think for myself, ride my bike downtown to Jack’s Records and Tapes, have a girlfriend, but wasn’t old enough to work, so didn’t have the responsibility of a job and car payment. No wonder hearing those songs is kind of bittersweet these days.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the show.

And we just learned that Rob Zombie is coming to town in July. Anthrax is opening for him. Anthrax sucks half-expelled skunk turds, but $38.50 to see Rob Zombie … I can sit through Anthrax. They can’t possibly be as bad as King’s X was opening for AC/DC.

A great big thanks goes out to 9fingers. You know why, buddy.

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