I’m a sucker for outfit watching, especially at classic rock concerts. Last night, Verizon Arena swarmed with normcore looks, with the occasional epic rattail and white denim Madonna jacket. I pondered the display of careful confidence before me, soaking up the beauty that is the fashion of The Arkansas Dad and the tweens he dragged along with him.
The bands never disappoint on the fashion front, and this was especially evident in Don Felder’s tight leather pants. As he strummed his double-neck guitar during “Hotel California,” the conforming pants did their job of showing each muscle used to demi plié while squeezing all the oomph out of those lilting riffs. Overall, I thought his set was a little slow yet still a real crowd pleaser. He played the songs all 3,632 of us knew and loved (or knew and didn’t love but couldn’t seem to shake, knowing all the words and singing right along anyway.)
I had never really come to terms with the fact that I’m a 29-year-old bonafide Styx fan until I caught myself scream-singing “Lady” at the top of my lungs along with Lawrence Gowan. I guiltily looked around at my nodding neighbors when James Young asked the crowd if we remembered Clyde Clifford of the
Chicago Little Rock radio station KAAY, who was the first to play the band on air in 1973. It doesn’t matter, though, that I wasn’t alive in the '70s to discover Styx in their heyday, because they had me feeling like both a freak and a geek during “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade” and Tommy Shaw belting their newest tune, “Radio Silence.”
A personal best for me during the night was then Lawrence Gowan paid tribute to Queen and asked the crowd singers for help with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” My eyes lit up, I delightedly answered his request and my heart was full. I'm mentioning Lawrence Gowan a lot; last night as he was prancing and twirling with reckless abandon I realized that we are kindred spirits, he and I. I hope I can take this newfound epiphany and go forward in my everyday life with as much zeal as his stage persona effected.
One thing left to be desired from Styx’s set was “Mr. Roboto.” It would have been nice to hear the bizarre tune and do the dance I spent most of yesterday prepping to do.
The night rounded off with REO Speedwagon, whose energy was not as electrifying as Styx, but a smooth finish to a great night nonetheless. There’s been a resurgence of cool 80s rock recently and I was not so surprised that my fellow millennials seated behind me were singing along to “Keep on Loving You,” “Take It On The Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
I won’t stop going to classic rock concerts, and I’m lucky to have such a great venue for them here in Little Rock. I attribute my love for classic rock to being reared on radio stations; Magic 105, The Point 94.1.
I’ll leave you with a question: is it any wonder I’m not crazy? Is it any wonder I’m sane at all?