Lead singer Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon sings a lot about "boyfriends" and "girlfriends."
He even addressed the males in the audience last night at Merriweather Post Pavilion as "boys." Now we all know where this is headed: REO Speedwagon, once kings of fist-in-the-air arena rock, have fully made the transition into purveyors of chirpy love-and-pain pop songs.
Touring in support of their new album, "Life As We Know It," Cronin led his convoy through some embarrassing maneuvers. Cronin's songs are landscaped with insipid lyrics and the wagonmeister at one point could be heard singing, "He's got one too many girlfriends and too little feelings."
With such Alan Aldaesque sensitivity, it's a wonder that he didn't shed a tear. Cronin also managed to take a Chuck Berry riff and Wonderbread it to death on "New Way to Love," a soulless song that he said was written when he got angry at his girlfriend for requesting that they move. So much for sensitivity.
The Speedwagon still has some juice left in it, though "Roll With the Changes," with its galloping piano, and "Riding the Storm Out" were delivered with enough raunch and romp to remind the crowd that rock 'n' roll is best when delivered rudely.