CONCERT REVIEWREO inspires patriotism in fairgoers

Maria Eutsler

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REO Speedwagon gave a great performance Thursday at the Kern County Fair, with all the energy and soul that they must have had 30-some years ago when they first began performing, while still showing their remorse for the tragic events of Sept. 11.

They played all their biggest hits and if you closed your eyes for long enough, you might’ve thought that you were back in 1981.

Lead vocalist Kevin Cronin has a very distinctive voice. He has a strong stage presence and can make the audience cheer and raise their lighters with his powerful words.

When Cronin pronounced that the American spirit is strong here in Bakersfield, the crowd roared with enthusiasm and patriotism. Much of the audience wore red, white and blue. When Cronin sang an early protest song that he had written during the Vietnam War, he talked about how the times have changed dramatically, and that now, if he had to, he would be on the front line fighting for his country.

There was most definitely a strong patriotic vibe all around. Cronin pronouncing that no one can break our spirits, and that we are all here to celebrate the strength and stability of our country. He can really get the crowd going, especially when they brought out the piano. The crowd cheered, knowing that one of the bands most popular songs, “I’m Gonna Keep on Loving You” was about to be played.

That was by far one of the most memorable highlights of the show. Couples hugged, hands waved, and lighters were brightly lit.

Bryan Hitt’s drum solo also brought loud cheers from the audience, as did lead guitarist Dave Amato’s solo.

They ended the show with a jazzed-up number called “Saturday Night Special.”

At the meet-and-greet, the band was very polite and seemed very happy to be here. Cronin asked if he made the audience feel down by mentioning last month’s tragic events. Everyone assured him that, if anything, he boosted morale and made us all feel proud to be Americans and also proud to be REO fans.

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