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Exploring on Tour

written by REO Speedwagon

Hi friends … So when we are on tour, I like to explore the cities and towns where we play. Some places we have been to many times over the years, and I am curious to see how things have changed/remained the same. There are certain familiar spots like the St Louis Arch, the corner of Bleeker and MacDougal in Greenwich Village, Rush Street and the Lakefront in my hometown Chicago, the Plaza in Kansas City, and so many other places around the country that bring me peace and help me feel at home as we travel.

But the smaller towns of America are interesting in their own unique ways. I remember in the 1990s when the town centers across our country were feeling the strain of competing with “big box” stores which were causing the traditional single proprietor shops to struggle. I felt the sadness of boarded up windows and “Going Out of Business” signs. But as the years have passed, and even with the advent of online shopping, things have begun to change. Local investors began to realize the importance of maintaining the history and culture of their downtown districts. Little by little, restaurants, jazz clubs, boutiques, and bookstores began moving into the classic older buildings. The interiors were spruced up, as the exteriors were restored to retain their original looks. The Hotel Roanoke, where we stayed the other day, is a perfect example of a historic landmark which was brought back to its former glory. While we were there, we got together with our crew, and the entire Rick Springfield entourage for a hibachi dinner, to celebrate our wildly successful and fun run of dates.

One of the shows we played with Rick was in the town of Florence, South Carolina. I went out for my usual walk to feel the vibe of the people there, and could not help but notice the renewal happening throughout the downtown area … buildings being refurbished, new restaurants opening, cool little bars and shops. I heard songs playing as I strolled along, and soon realized that a hidden speaker system had been installed in the various flower beds which provided continuous music. I felt inspired. When I reached the railroad tracks at the far end of Dargan Street, I was about to turn back when I noticed a clothing shop across the street, so I wandered over. Within a few minutes I had contacted all the band guys, and everybody dug in and found a ton of new stage clothes, right there at TK’s Clothing. Who knew? But when we keep our hearts and minds open, we allow in all kinds of unexpected positive energy.

Looking forward to meeting up with our young friends, Levon for the next few shows, and then a couple of shows in Florida with our old buddies, Cheap Trick. Hope to see you soon … kc

Rick and Dave checking out Beatles stuff

A band shopping spree

Selfie courtesy of Rick Springfield. From left: Rick, me, Derek’s girlfriend Katrina, and the rest of the gang getting ready to chow down on some Hibachi