A Few Q’s With Live Nation’s Rick Franks On REO Speedwagon & Styx’s 2022 Co-Headlining Tour

Kevin Cronin (right) and Bruce Hall of REO Speedwagon perform at Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 15, 2022 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)
Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips of Styx perform at Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 15, 2022 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

Legendary Midwest rock bands REO Speedwagon and Styx have been delighting fans across the U.S. all summer with their “Live & UnZoomed” co-headlining tour, featuring special guest Loverboy. Ahead of the tour’s final shows this weekend, Pollstar caught up with tour promoter Rick Franks of Live Nation to ask him a few questions about the trek.

The tour – which features REO and Styx switching off as the show’s closer – launched May 31 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Stops on the routing have included Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California; Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas; Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa; Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville and Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. The bands also made a trip to Canada for a show at Budweiser Stage in Toronto.

From first note to last, the show boasts over four hours of music per night, packed with hits and fan-favorites from REO Speedwagon such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Time For Me To Fly,” “Roll With The Changes,” “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run,” along with Styx hits including “Mr. Roboto,” “Man In The Wilderness,” “Miss America,” “Radio Silence,” and “Renegade.” Loverboy’s catalog includes “Working for the Weekend,” such arena rock staples as “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “This Could Be the Night,” “Hot Girls in Love,” “The Kid is Hot Tonite,” “Notorious”, “Turn Me Loose,” “When It’s Over,” “Heaven In Your Eyes” and “Queen of the Broken Hearts.”

The tour plays Greenville, South Carolina, Wednesday with a show at Bon Secours. This weekend REO, Styx and Loverboy will wrap up the 45-city run with performances at Hartford Healthcare Amphitheatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut Sept. 16; Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, New Hampshire Sept. 17 and Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine, Sept. 18.

Box office reports submitted to Pollstar for the tour include the Aug. 6 stop at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina, that sold 15,300 tickets and grossed $690,200.

Pollstar: REO and Styx are frequent touring partners – having last toured together in 2018. What makes REO and Styx such a great pairing?
Rick Franks: Both bands come from a classic rock background and got their start in the 80’s, so they’ve been working in the same space for a long time. The shows are attended by all ages, not just those that loved them 30 years ago – as streaming has grown and they continue to tour, their audience continues to expand to new fans all across the country as well.

Anything that makes the 2022 tour extra special?
We knew we had a special tour on our hands when we booked it, but the ticket sales went above and beyond our expectations with more than 15,000 sold for many of the shows. Adding Loverboy to the mix has created an even more exciting show with four hours of classic rock hits.

REO hails from Champaign, Illinois, and Styx is from Chicago. Many years ago you held the title of president of Live Nation Detroit. As someone who really knows the Midwest, do you think there’s something about REO and Styx’s sound that represents the region?
Definitely. They both sound like good old Midwestern Rock. Reo Speedwagon and Styx used to battle for the top of the charts in the 80’s and have known each other for all these years. It’s like a neighborhood reunion when you come to these shows. Everyone gets along and there’s a genuine camaraderie between bands.

How have ticket sales been for the 2022 tour?
The ticket sales have been incredible with over 500,000 tickets sold and more than 26M grossed. It’s been a smash hit and we’re very proud to be promoting this iconic tour.

Have you had a chance to go out to any of the shows on the tour? If so, what was that experience like?
Of course! I have been to many of the shows. The energy of the audience is unmatched – the audience knows the word of every song in the setlist, creating a ‘sing all night long’ kind of experience.

For someone who’s never seen REO or Styx live, why should someone go to the show? It’s the perfect opportunity to sit back and be entertained. The music played is the soundtrack of our lives. What more could you want?