Why REO Speedwagon is such a great band

REO Speedwagon in concert, Winston-Salem North Carolina, November 2009. I had permission to bring my Olympus XA to the show, but other people brought video cameras, and took better photos than I did. This picture is at least legal. I apologize for the dust on my scanner.

In 2009 I caught a Soundstage broadcast featuring REO Speedwagon and was amazed at how much fun it was to watch. The music is familiar, and not particularly complicated, but that exactly what you want, if you are attempting to sing along. Singing along is so much fun, and it makes me identify with the emotions of the songs. It's impressive how well-coordinated and talented the band members are, it probably comes from decades of practice, touring together a lot. Their music tends to be upbeat, even when the lyrics address rather negative topics, which makes me feel better. Also, they are so goofy on stage, so cheerful, they prove that seriousness is overrated as an approach to life. As they say, they take the music seriously, but they don't take themselves seriously, and that combination makes watching them play outrageously fun.

In general, I tend to be too anxious and self-conscious. Singing along in a concert is a great way to overcome self-consciousness. Especially when younger, I was overly concerned about what my peers thought, and I wanted to appear intellectual and discriminating. Maybe that's why I didn't listen to REO Speedwagon decades ago, when they were so popular. They also sound much better to me now than they did then. I really think they have improved, especially compared to their older studio recordings. I think Dave Amato is a better guitarist than Gary Richrath. Also, I value different things in music than I used to. I am more interested in the feelings expressed, and appreciate genuine emotion much more than drama. Styx is dramatic and REO Speedwagon is genuine, so my appreciation of Styx has declined as my appreciation of REO Speedwagon has grown.

In my humble opinion, Building the Bridge by REO Speedwagon ought to be the official song of the Supersites.