Rock n’ roll veterans, REO Speedwagon made a stop in Pikeville, Kentucky, bringing Sister Hazel along for the ride. Chances are the younger audience reading this may not have heard of REO Speedwagon. If you’ve not, do yourself a favor, open a new tab on that browser, go to YouTube, look up a REO Speedwagon‘s video for “Roll With the Changes,” turn the volume up really loud, and you’ll understand how this band has sold over 40 million albums; and why 40 plus years into their career, thousands of people in Pikeville, Kentucky, on a Wednesday night, are still lining up to see them play.
While Sister Hazel hasn’t been a band nearly as long as REO, they have been around the block a time or two – and Sister Hazel fans are just as passionate about their music. With a string of hits in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that included “All For You” and “Champagne High,” both of which they played tonight, Sister Hazel more than holds their own on this tour. They’ve not rested on that early success either, continuing to make music and release EP’s and albums. The latest new music is 2019’s EP ‘Fire.’ If you see the announcements for this tour with Sister Hazel’s name on it and you think to yourself, “Hey, I use to like their music,” buy a ticket! They sound just as good, or maybe better than they ever have!
REO Speedwagon, hitting on all cylinders, opened this show with “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Music Man” from 1980’s ‘Hi Infidelity’ and 1972’s ‘R.E.O./T.W.O.’ respectively. The hits just kept coming after that. How about a #1 hit from 1985, “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” and a top 10 hit from 1981, “Take It on the Run.’ Hit song after hit song, and the Pikeville crowd ate it up. This is what they paid to hear, and REO was giving them what they wanted! With numerous top 40 hits and several #1’s sprinkled in there, it’s not hard to fill a set list with songs the crowds want to hear. REO played a stacked set with “Time for Me to Fly,” “Back on the Road Again,” and my favorite, “Ridin’ the Storm Out” to close out the night.
But REO Speedwagon was not done with Pikeville just yet! An encore was in store! A two song encore at that, with two of REO’s most well-known songs “Keep on Loving You” and “Roll With the Changes.” With the last notes of “Roll With the Changes” echoing through the Appalachian Wireless Area, that brought to an end a super night of music in Pikeville, KY!
This was the first show the Appalachian Wireless Arena hosted under its new moniker (formally the East Kentucky Expo Center), and by all accounts it was a great first show. Looking forward to what the future holds for the AWA and the Eastern Kentucky area.
As I’ve said in most of my reviews, get out and support live music in your area. Support the local bands and venues. Without that support early in their careers the two bands from tonight’s show wouldn’t have found their way to Pikeville. Go see a show!