City Slang: The Midwest Rock â€™nâ€™ Roll Express hits DTE
I neither know nor care what â€ścoolâ€ť means, but I sure as hell know that it isnâ€™t a triple bill featuring REO Speedwagon, Styx, and the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent. In fact, if a rock bill were to be put together specifically for the purpose of making the musically fashionable shake with laughter and overflow with scorn, it would likely be this one.
Like I give a shit.
The name of the tour, the Midwestern Rock â€™nâ€™ Roll Express, aims squarely for the blue collar music fan and, yâ€™know, thatâ€™s ok; all of these bands are from the Midwest, though itâ€™s been some time since any of the musicians have worked 14 hours in a factory. But whatever, fair enough.
The venue is packed to busting, and the sun is blasting down. Inside the seating area, the sweat is pouring and it is, quite frankly, uncomfortable. Still, all of that is soon forgotten because REO Speedwagon is shockingly good. Yeah, you can laugh if you want, but itâ€™s true. The ballads (â€śKeep on Loving Youâ€ť, â€śCanâ€™t Fight This Feelingâ€ť) are sweet enough but the rockers like â€śRoll With the Changesâ€ť and â€śRidinâ€™ the Storm Outâ€ť kick ass. Iâ€™m saying it in public. REO Speedwagon rock.
Styx are on form too. Thereâ€™s no â€śMr. Robotoâ€ť (BOOOOO), but â€śCome Sail Awayâ€ť and â€śToo Much Time on My Handsâ€ť sounded great under the sun.
Nugent came on to a medley of Detroit classics, songs from Mitch Ryder, Seger and Grand Funk. I have to admit, on the day that the Obamacare mandate was upheld and deemed legal, I was curious about what the Nuge would have to say about it. Surely he wouldnâ€™t be able to stay quiet on that? But he did. Obviously, he aimed a few metaphorical darts at the â€ścorrupt assholes in the White Houseâ€ť, but that was it. Disappointing.
â€śJust What the Doctor Orderedâ€ť and â€śWango Tangoâ€ť, to be fair, are a lot of fun. High-octane hard rock. Derek St. Holmes is still a killer guitarist and co-vocalist, and who can deny â€śCat Scratch Feverâ€ť?
Nugentâ€™s politics remain abhorrent. But put him on a stage with a guitar in his hand, ignore the rants between songs, and he is still one of the great showmen.
And now I sit and await the arrival of the â€ścool policeâ€ť.