Arts and Entertainment

STYX, REO Speedwagon, .38 Special will bring the big hair to ShoWare

Styx, above, will be joined by REO Speedwagon and .38 Special for a May 27 show hearkening to the 1980s at the ShoWare Center. - Submitted photo
Styx, above, will be joined by REO Speedwagon and .38 Special for a May 27 show hearkening to the 1980s at the ShoWare Center.
— image credit: Submitted photo

It could be an interesting mix of parents and children in the crowd at Kent ShoWare Center’s first rock concert, scheduled for May 27.

Styx, REO Speedwagon and .38 Special, heavy-hitting American rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s, will take to the stage 7 p.m. at the “Can’t Stop Rockin’” concert.

Watching them will be a graying crowd that grew up listening to them, along with a younger group that’s only now discovering them.

“I’m hearing about parents of teenagers who want to expose their kids to the music they listened to as teenagers,” said Beth Sylves, marketing director for the ShoWare Center, in a phone interview Thursday. “I haven’t heard if the teenagers are excited about it.”

Some kids are becoming more familiar with Styx and REO Speedwagon because hits from the two big-hair groups are featured on the “Rock Band” video-music game, which allows players to perform in a virtual band.

Rock Band and VH1 Classic are sponsors of the “Can’t Stop Rockin’” concert. And true to the interactive nature of Rock Band’s biggest product, fans at the concert can perform their own version of Styx and REO Speedwagon tracks at a mini-stage during the event.

The video-music game includes “Can’t Stop Rockin,’” the new collaborative song between Styx and REO Speedwagon.

“The world is going through a weird phase, and everybody needs music now more than ever,” said REO’s Kevin Cronin, who co-wrote the new song with Styx’s Tommy Shaw, in a media release to announce the concert tour that opened last week in Amarillo, Texas. “We all need to join our friends, pool our resources, combine our energies, because there is power in people coming together. That spirit has brought REO and Styx together to write, record and tour together, and celebrate it all with the greatest fans in America.”

But much of the music at the concert is expected to be a flashback for many fans.

Hit songs by Styx include “Come Sail Away,” “Mr. Roboto,” and “Lady.” The Chicago-based band released four albums in a row from 1977 to 1981 that reached multi-platinum status with more than 2 million sold.

REO Speedwagon, which got its start as a Midwestern cover band, was known for its power ballads, including “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” and “Keep On Loving You.” The group .38 Special, which was actually named for a member’s 1938 Oldsmobile (and not the handgun) produced some choice Southern rock hits, including “Caught Up In You,” and “If I’d Been The One.”

Sales for tickets have been brisk.

“We think it will be a pretty full house,” Sylves said. “Sales have been pretty good and all of our shows start selling faster the last couple of weeks.”

About 50 rock fans signed up for a special dinner, concert and shuttle service to the concert offered by Salty’s restaurant in Des Moines, Sylves said.

REO produced its last album in 2007 with the hits “Find Your Way Home” and “I Needed to Fall.” Styx latest release is “One With Everything” from 2006 and .38 Special produced “Drivetrain” in 2004.

“We’re excited about our first rock show,” Sylves said. “And it’s an all-ages concert so you can relive your youth with your youth.”

IF YOU GO

What: Styx, REO Speedwagon, .38 Special

When: 7 p.m. May 27

Where: ShoWare Center

Cost: $85, $65, $49.50 and $39.50

Tickets: www.showarecenter.com or 253-856-6999

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