Thursday night, April 2nd, we were back at the historic Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. This time we covered rock-n-roll legends, REO Speedwagon. We had backstage access, and the chance to reconnect with our friends from the band Upshot. Upshot was the opening band and the lead singer, Sara Sider-Hall is REO’s bass player Bruce Hall’s daughter.
As most bands when they open for a big name like REO, the crowd is not all that interested at first. The band has to fight for their attention, this was the case. Yet showing their true professionalism, Upshot was not deterred and hit the stage rocking it from the start. Well within the first song, they had a good number of the audience’s attention. When they closed out their set, they had the house attention. Near the end of their opening set, Timmy Hall came on stage with a tambourine. He stole the show, showing off great showmanship as he swayed and jammed with his big sister, Sara.
What the audience was not able to see, was what was happening backstage. Beaming with pride, Bruce Hall and others of REO watched Upshot perform. They have known Sara for her entire life and have watched her develop her musical skills. They danced in place and rocked backstage, as Upshot rocked the stage.
I first met Upshot about 3 years ago and it was also at an REO Speedwagon concert, but then they were the openers for the openers. They have improved since I first covered them; with their rock, funk and soul mix is taking shape in a big way. This is a band to keep an eye on.
As the house lights dimmed, the stage was dark, the fans fevered anticipation grew. Shadowed figures appeared on stage; the crowd grew loader and louder as the first cords of “Don’t Let Him Go” began.
For a crowd of middle aged rockers, they did not let stand in the way of them cheering on a band they have enjoyed for over 40 years. REO, formed in the fall of 1967 at the University of Illinois, they have grown into a rock-n-roll legendary group.
REO performed many hits that have made them the legends they are today. Fans danced in the aisles and rocked to their favorite tunes. This show did not disappoint.
We give both performances 5 guitars, to Upshot for great performance and continuing to improve as they grow. Congrats on your new CD release “Bring Bourbon.” To REO, for never disappointing, we give you 5 guitars.
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