Muncie jumps on the Speedwagon at Emens Friday

Photo by Michelle Jones

By Heather Collins

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Muncie jumped on the  REO Speedwagon Friday night at Emens Auditorium.   REO Speedwagon formed in 1967 and have been on the road ever since.

Emens Auditorium General Manager, Bob Myers, said more than 2400 fans attended the show and it exceeded their expectations. He also mentioned that the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic and he was taken back by the positive energy of the middle aged crowd.

Prior to the show, the Emens Auditorium emcee asked  for the crowd to cheer if they were over 60 years and few woos came, but the loudest crowd noise came from those in their 40 and 50's. REO Speedwagon's lead singer, Kevin Cronin, is 62 years old.

The Easthills, a 5-piece group hailing from richmond, IN kicked off the night. The band was well-received by the rock crowd and were reminiscent of a Midwestern version of Southern rock band, Kings of Leon.

REO Speedwagon commemorated 50 Years of The Beatles throughout the evening. Lead vocalist, Kevin Cronin, recalled to the crowd tuning into the Ed Sullivan show to watch The Beatles performance exactly 50 years ago.

“Everything they did, seemed to be the right thing,” said Cronin.

Cronin candidly talked about how The Beatles showed him how powerful music can be, and its ability to not just be ooey-gooey love songs, but to change the world and motivate people.

REO Speedwagon’s hit, “The Golden Country” was written by Cronin about the war in Vietnam and encouraging people to take it to the streets and get motivated. Cronin said the single was the closest he came to writing his own “Yesterday.”

“There’s power in all kinds of different music,” said Cronin.

The concert swayed from commemorating The Beatles and social change to Cronin telling stories of the band driving down the road in a 1972 Chevrolet Impala and staying at Holiday Inn’s across the country.

REO Speedwagon has had 13 Top 40 hits including, "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Keep On Loving the You." The band's popularity peaked in the '80s, but the band is still considered a popular live act.

"My Momma loves this music and we grew up on it,"  said concert attendee, Christy Riwitis.

Riwitis attended the concert with her mother and little sister, making  it a mother and daughter outing.

When asked about her favorite  REO speedwagon tune,  Riwitis’ mother, Cheryl said "Time for me to Fly," and when asked why she sweetly replied, "because I fly."

Muncie resident, Tom Kappes and his fiancee Carrie Summers attended the concert for their monthly date night (which Summers hopes to make weekly). Kappes said he listened to  REO Speedwagon during his trips to and from high school in the '80s and has seen  REO Speedwagon in concert five or six times. Prior to their engagement the couple had attended Styx and Kansas  at Emen's Auditorium.  

“What a great time, REO really rocked it. This takes me back to when life was carefree and simple. Oh, the ‘80s,” said Muncie resident Debbie Morris. Morris attended the concert as a girl’s night out with friends.

Throughout the show, the band put a bright spotlight on the audience encouraging audience members to sing along.

The band has been touring for more than forty years, and the only thing they could add to their live performance now is... more cowbell.

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