ShoWare rock concert becomes family affair

Kevin Cronin

Kevin Cronin

On Wednesday the “Can’t Stop Rockin’ Tour” stormed the ShoWare Center in Kent, highlighting the live shows of classic rock stalwarts REO Speedwagon, Styx and .38 Special, who collectively have more than a century of touring experience.

The show brought out two separate demographics: fans who saw the groups back in their respective heydays, when “iTune” was just a typo, and a younger generation rediscovering them – a lot of them the offspring of the first demographic.

Together, they formed an audience of more than 4,000, jamming together at ShoWare, for the Kent venue’s first major rock concert.

For Jeff Lovre, 44, of Black Diamond, the show was a chance to share his love of live shows with his kids, Chris, 12, and Andrew, 9.

“I just think it’s great,” said Jeff, who has been attending rock concerts since he was a teenager. “The people here have been great. I have seen Styx and REO before, but not .38 Special. I saw Styx first in ’83 and ’84; I think it was on ‘Paradise Theater’

Although the show was Chris’ first, Andrew said he was already an old hand at the concert experience.

“I already went to Rush at the White River Amphitheater,” Andrew Lovre said. “I knew of Styx, so I decided to come.”

For Adam Hoveland, 20 of Federal Way, the show was a chance to hang out with his dad.

“I know Styx,” Hoveland said. “And it was better than being stuck at home. I liked .38 Special. Now I have some more stuff to add to my playlist.”

Formed in Chicago in 1970, Styx rose out of the Midwestern club circuit, scoring top-40 hits such as “Babe”, “Lady”, “Come Sail Away” and “Mr. Roboto” on their way to a career that would find them recording eight consecutive multi-platinum albums in the 70s and 80s. The band’s set focused mainly on songs from that period, although the band did cover The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” and performed the single “Can’t Stop Rockin’” which the band co-recorded with REO Speedwagon.

Like Styx, REO Speedwagon’s genesis took place in the Midwest, when several students at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill. got together to play cover songs in local bars. The band found their greatest success in 1980 when the band released “Hi Infidelity”, which sold more than nine million copies, spend more than 65 weeks on the Billboard charts and spawned four hit singles, including the No. 1 single “Keep on Loving You.”

Special guests 38 Special from Jacksonville, Fla. formed in 1975 and enjoyed three platinum-selling albums in the early 1980s and two No. 1 singles “Caught Up in You” and “If I’d Been the One.”

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