ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—The Midwest Rock ‘N’ Roll Express rolled into South Jersey and Ted Nugent took the stage first. He had a four-piece band, some smoke, and solid mood lighting. His first song was “Wango Tango” and while the guitars were decent, the vocals weren’t great.
Early in the show, “Ted’s woman,” as he put it, was grinding him on stage and it was a forced attempt to add a coolness factor that didn’t exist. Ted proclaimed multiple times, “You can’t do this in France,” and the audience didn’t seem to get it. The show finished out with “Need You Bad,” “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold.”
The stage went from an old school rock feel to a more polished setup with some cool post lighting for REO Speedwagon. The band came out rocking with “Don’t Let Him Go.” After that they played “Take It on the Run” and “Keep Pushin.” The next song was “Golden Country” and the light towers pulsated. Lead guitarist Dave Amato had an exceptional solo along with some solid rhythmic drumming from Bryan Hitt.
Bassist Bruce Hall sang “Back On The Road Again,” much to the delight of the crowd. The main set closed out with the sweet sounds of Neal Doughty and his Korg synthesizer playing “Roll With The Changes.”
The band finally ended their performance with “Keep On Loving You” and “Ridin’ The Storm Out.” While the group was branded as “pop” back in the ‘80s, this tour really mixed in their earlier edgier songs and the audience loved that.
By the time Styx took the stage the audience was extremely loose and the band did a great job of mixing in some big and interesting video scenes to the sounds of “Blue Collar Man” to add that instant spark to the room. Tommy Shaw nails that song each and every time.
Current vocalist Lawrence Gowan has really grown as a member of the band and he shined singing “Lady,” which started off with an acoustic touch. An older hit, “Lorelei” showed off Gowan’s keyboard skills and the next track, “Too Much Time On My Hands,” was a crowd pleaser while drummer Todd Sucherman excelled.
Longtime lead guitarist James Young really hammed it up on “Grand Illusion” and Tommy was flawless again on “Fooling Yourself” along with bassist Ricky Phillips.
Young sang a great rendition of “Miss America” and original member and bassist Chuck Panozzo joined in on “Come Sail Away,” which added a great touch of nostalgia to the show. “Rocking The Paradise” had a disco ball with star shaped confetti dropping from the sky that really seemed to work. “Renegade” closed out this show and the crowd left feeling very satisfied.