REO Speedwagon in-store at Walmart

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Jake
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REO Speedwagon in-store at Walmart

Postby Jake » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:25 am

Wheels May Have Fallen Off Speedwagon

"If Eighties pop band REO Speedwagon had any amount of musical cred left after once being the hottest group on the planet, it may officially be gone. In support of their first album release in 11 years (Find Your Own Way Home) the band is going to play a free show...at the Elk Grove Village Wal-mart. And it's not like they're taking over the parking lot for the show, it's an in-store 30 minute performance proceeding an autograph session. REO Speedwagon orginated in Champaign as a hard rock group during the late Sixites and became a regional power before their stardom hit top selling stauts with a more mellow sound. The current line-up of the band includes three long time members. If you want to catch them live for free, show starts at 6 pm."

It's tonight. If it didn't start so fucking early, I might seriously have gone...

By the way, this is confirmed on REO's MySpace.

trainwreck2
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Re: REO Speedwagon in-store at Walmart

Postby trainwreck2 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:17 pm

Jake wrote:it's an in-store 30 minute performance proceeding an autograph session.

30 minutes and they gotta get back to the shopping cart pickup!

DJMurphy
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Postby DJMurphy » Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:27 pm

Y'know, for some strange reason, I feel sorry for REO Speedwagon. If this exact same scenario were to happen to Creed, I'd laugh my ass off. But the fact that REO has been reduced to pimpin' their latest wares in a Wal*Mart doesn't make me laugh; it makes me cringe. Maybe it's because they're from Champaign, IL; no, because if Styx were the band hawking their wares at Wal*Mart, I'd be snickering. Maybe it's because of all I've heard of the guys as people, they're one of the classier bands. I don't know if it's true or not, but they do strike me as classier.

Case in point: in the mid-90s, REO was playing Taste of Chicago, around the time that they had a new CD to sell. Kevin Cronin, mid-show, went as far as to say (paraphrased), "We know you guys are looking for all of our hits; we also have a new CD that just came out. We want to play you two songs from it, and then we're gonna go back to the songs you love. Try to listen to these with an open mind; we hope you dig 'em." Now that's classy; they're under no illusions that the crowd is there to hear "Keep On Lovin' You" and "Ridin' the Storm Out", but he wanted to at least hope the audience would keep an open mind about the new shit as well.

Anyone out there who has heard that the guys in REO are douchebags (regardless of your opinions of their music), feel free to shatter my romantic illusions. But this scrap of news saddens me more than anything.

And no, I didn't go see them tonight.

dharmabum110
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Postby dharmabum110 » Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:08 am

As I'm in NJ and could not get to the Chicago area, I'm curious as to the makeup of the REO crowd. I mean, were there a lot of old fans, or a lot of hipsters there for the ironic experience?
This whole thing is wierd and I agree with the poster above, it makes me cringe. I'm sure some of us know what it is to play music before others, let alone what it is like to be accepted by said audience. But to come back 25 years after your prime and play Wal-Mart, it's just so damn weird.
That being said, I tip my hat to REO for their humility and I hope they rocked the joint!

trainwreck2
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Postby trainwreck2 » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:18 am

i read some article that mentioned that one of the singers from Black Flag was working in a Hollywood diner now... not the rise and fall like this but still...

Jake
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Postby Jake » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:40 am

Greg Norton from Husker Du runs a restaurant. (I still think it's funny that the dude with the handlebar moustache was the only not gay guy in the band.)

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Postby worpswede » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:53 am

DJMurphy wrote:Anyone out there who has heard that the guys in REO are douchebags (regardless of your opinions of their music), feel free to shatter my romantic illusions.

Mused about 'em (and others) here. The show was their first dip into the county fair waters, and Cronin was still in full rock star mode. I wasn't at the show, but I spoke with the dude who actually introduced them at the performance I wrote about. He said that Cronin refused to talk to him and almost refused to play because he didn't like the "beer wall" that separated the drinking age audience members from the underaged section. Someone finally stepped up to Cronin and said "If you choose not to play then you can explain why you're not performing to those 16,000 people waiting for you." He pouted a bit and then went on and performed.
Because of the enormous crowd, R.E.O. continued to revisit the area every summer for a different festival/fair/event. And each year, the novelty of having R.E.O. Speedwagon play in your back yard wore off. The crowds got smaller and, hopefully, Cronin got a little less arrogant because of it.
I used to have that book Hit Men which, if I recall, had the story of how R.E.O. went from a hard working bar band to arena rockers thanks to the "activities" of Epic Records.

DJMurphy
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Postby DJMurphy » Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:01 pm

worpswede wrote:Mused about 'em (and others) here. The show was their first dip into the county fair waters, and Cronin was still in full rock star mode. [tawdry rock tale here] The crowds got smaller and, hopefully, Cronin got a little less arrogant because of it.

Oh. In that case, I don't feel as bad for REO re: Wal-Mart after all. Unless they've REPENTED FOR THEIR SINS!! ;)

worpswede wrote:I used to have that book Hit Men which, if I recall, had the story of how R.E.O. went from a hard working bar band to arena rockers thanks to the "activities" of Epic Records.

...among other things. I have that book, along with Stiffed (both essential reading about the way the music biz works most of the time). I'm guessing that it didn't hurt REO's success to have the take-no-prisoners, I'll-scream-as-loud-as-I-have-to-to-get-my-terms Irving Azoff as a manager, either. They were one of his first bands, and for Azoff, it was only up from there. Like him or hate him (and with him, I've heard there's very little in the middle), he is truly a legend in the biz, for which he has my respect.


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