This has actually been a summer full of concerts. If you recall, I previously posted on the Alice Cooper concert (link here) we attended on our anniversary. Next up on the list was the Mississippi Valley State Fair. This year’s rock act … translated as NOT a country band… was our boys from Chambana. Anyone that has ever attended the University of Illinois (like say me) is very familiar with one of the Illini’s most famous music products. If you are thinking the Elvis Brothers are even Hum at this point you need to think a little higher on the charts. Need another hint? How about they were a “rock” band until the lead singer lamed out and started putting out top 40 love song crap — I Can’t Fight This Feeling .. SHUDDER. That should be more than enough clues to know we went to REO Speedwagon. REO is actually one of those bands that brings back a lot of memories – first, they have that whole college connection, their lead guitarist and writer for a large majority of their non-lame years is from right here in Peoria (actually I believe it is East Peoria, but Wikipedia had it as Peoria) and their High Infidelity Tour was the first concert my brother Ron ever took me to. I was still in high school (81) and he took me up to Champaign to see the concert (my brothers and I all received degrees from the U of I although some are more impressive than mine). I can still remember just about everything about that night – what a blast. This is one of the reasons I get ticked off every time they play their lame crap on the radio – marring up my memory.
There are some interesting things about the Mississippi Valley State Fair held in Davenport Iowa. For one thing they do their concert tickets in a very creative way. You basically buy a fair pass that let’s you in to EVERY concert they schedule during the fair. As a result, the ticket to the fair runs in the 30 or so dollar range but depending on the lineup it can be an extremely good deal. It should be pointed out that you can share your passes – we actually share the pass with Linda’s family and friends on the dates during the week. This ticket process works quite well – the fair is always a revenue generator, the bands are guaranteed their money and they get good bands that actually WANT to come and play. Our own HOI fair needs to take a few lessons. Add in the fact they understand the profit machine and encourage alcohol purchases you have a recipe for fun and entertainment – if not on the stage, then in the crowd – they actually sell multiple beers to people and hand them out in bags of ice). Oh, when it comes to crowds.. these shows are packed!
Now REO happens to be one of those bands that sound a lot beefier live than they do on their studio albums. I recollected this from the concert back in ’81. I am unable to put my finger on it, but I think it is the deeper base and drums that tend to get overpowered by the guitars and keyboard mixing on their albums. In contrast to the previous concert, they are now officially OLD. This is probably more of a statement on us than them, seeing as how we bought tickets to see them – hehehe. All in all I thought it was a pretty good concert. They know why the people are there and accommodate them by playing all their classics – in our case everything except In Your Letter which I amuse myself by singing it as “Henrietta” – try to get that out of your head the next time you hear that song – I also use My Pool Hall Ace for the Police My Poor Heart Aches which brought a big laugh to my Sister-in-Law Eilish who pointed out my error while singing along in the car – it stuck! It was well worth our money and the crowd (it was packed in the stands and on the track) was in to it. This despite a major screw up by Cronin at the beginning of the concert. Note to performers – LEARN THE NAME OF THE TOWN YOU ARE PLAYING IN. Sure, you travel to many towns throughout the tour, but how hard is it to have a roadie ask a local before the start of the show? Included in some banter with the crowd are “Davenport [cheer], Moline [cheer] and Bettencourt [wtf?]” Where the hell is Bettencourt? – nowhere around us, that’s for sure. I would let it go if he would not have said it AGAIN later in the concert. Hey Kevin.. it’s Bettendorf.
Hit the jump for some comments on scenes from the crowd.