TULSA - If there was a common theme to the three diverse acts which took the stage Wednesday night at Tulsa's BOK Center, it was that living in America makes it easier to pursue your dreams.
REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Ted Nugent brought their 70s rock chops to a crowd that ranged in age from children to senior citizens.
All three bands took time to talk about their midwestern roots, and the pride and gratitude they felt for being able to enjoy their long careers in the land of the free.
Nugent opened the show with his headbanging brand of rapid-fire guitar licks and feisty lyrics.
He addressed the crowd between songs on several topics, including politics, of course -- but briefly.
He spent more time talking about his reputation as a hunter, and was typically defiant.
For the last 15 years or so, he said, "I've sent a ton of venison jerky to the heroes of the US military in Afghanistan. That's what I do... say 'thank you, Uncle Ted!"
"Not only is wonderful that I give dead (expletive) to the hero warriors, that's cool enough, but word is, confirmation has come back, that when they eat Ted Nugent meat, they kill more (expletives)."
Among the hits he played were "Cat Scratch Fever," "Stranglehold," and "Great White Buffalo."
Styx proved once again why it attained a legion of fans with its album-oriented, progressive rock sound.
Arguably, the three main vocalists, Tommy Shaw (guitar), Lawrence Gowan (keyboards), and James Young (guitar) could each front bands as solo artists and achieve great success.
Together, trading off lead licks on their instruments and taking turns on lead vocals, plus harmonizing beautifully on arrangments that also included bassist Ricky Phillips, Styx did not fail to impress.
Young fans Chance Plummer and Matt Retkowski, both musicians in their own right, told KRMG they find the music performed by guys who are possibly older than their grandfathers still very relevant.
"Tommy Shaw hits every note he puts out on the record, that's what's impressive if after this long you can still hit those notes," Plummer said.
He said he heard stories from his father for years about seeing Styx play live.
The band stuck to their tried-and-true repertoire of huge FM hits, including "Too Much Time on My Hands," "Come Sail Away," and "Renegade."
REO Speedwagon closed the show with their trademark arena-rock sound, keeping the crowd rocking with "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Take it on the Run," and of course "Riding the Storm Out."
The acoustics were excellent, though Nugent's set got a bit muddy at times due to volume -- he's famous for cranking it up, and a BOK Center spokesman told KRMG they measured the volume of his set at a maximum of 108 decibels.
Styx's mix was clean, highlighting their virtuousity on vocal and instrumental harmonies, and REO Speedwagon's set also sounded crisp, allowing fans to enjoy every note of their set.