REO SPEEDWAGON: Live At Moondance Jam: CD / DVD

Broadcast on Palladia, Direct TV and VH1 Classic in early 2013, Live at Moondance Jam features a baker’s dozen classic REO SPEEDWAGON tunes. This is a review of just the audio since I never received the DVD portion.

REO SPEEDWAGON has been going strong in one form or another, with founding member and keyboardist Neal Doughty the only constant, for more than 45 years. Though their studio output of the last few decades hasn’t been prolific or as successful as their chart-topping time in the early ’80s, the band keeps on touring, mostly on the fair, festival and casino circuit.

The band is captured on a very good night with the band at top form and Kevin Cronin’s voice sounds fantastic. The first four songs are from the first side of Hi Infidelity, celebrating its 30th anniversary and for good reason, that album was huge for the band and has the most recognizable songs by the band on it, and they include for the first time ever live, the song “In Your Letter.” Basically at this point in their career you’re getting a greatest hits selection and for most people that’s all they want to hear, but one or two newer songs would have been nice. You also get to hear “Golden Country” from the band’s second album, 1972’s R.E.O./T.W.O., and “Like You Do” from the same album both recorded live for the first time. It’s also pretty cool that the band included “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” and “157 Riverside Avenue,” both recorded originally with Cronin singing. Most bands usually skip over those years altogether, but they’ve embraced those songs.

The band shows their skill at playing these songs and the love that they have for the material, as well as the love for their fans. It’s a rare treat to hear a band that still gives everything in a performance after all these years and it will definitely make fans love this band for years to come. If only I had the DVD to watch as well…oh well, maybe one day.

IAN MARQUIS: Faces From The Static: CD

Faces from the Static cover art

Ian Marquis is a one man band, he plays all of the instruments and mixes up things up on this release with new wave and AOR that would sound perfect on the radio back in the early to mid ’80s plus he throws in some ’90s industrial rock. He shows his talent and ability to interweave the styles together with a finesse that really takes your breath away.

The album is varied nicely, nothing is overdone or worked to death, the songs all have a full and rich sound to them. Marquis’ vocals take on the sound and feel of the style that the song is performed in, going from the smoother new wave influenced “Call Me Crazy” to the harder, industrial sounding “Venus Aphasia”. He managed to get a really nice production job on the album with the songs being clear and very crisp sounding. You can really hear the love and energy that he put into this release and every track drips with the sound of a man who truly enjoys what he’s doing. I really liked “Hide And Seek”, “Help Me Make It To The Night”, “Call Me Crazy”, “Venus Aphasia”, “Paper Hearts / Paper Friends”, “I Know Better (We Are Broken)”, “Heisenberg, Revisited”, and “Lock Your Lips”.

A very diverse and enjoyable album that would sound great on the radio, that is if radio would ever play anything that wasn’t crap anymore. Check out this album and his previous albums and support independent artists that are doing it because they love music, not to be trendy.