REO Speedwagon – ‘Live In The Heartland’

Soul Food and Essential Music are extremely proud to announce the third UK DVD release in the Soundstage series, the top quality television show featuring live performances by world-class artists. REO Speedwagon – 'Live In The Heartland' captures the band's current line-up of Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (lead guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums) performing in front of adoring fans on their home turf in 2007.

The spectacular 16-song set, recorded in awe inspiring High-Definition and mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound for the hit PBS concert series Soundstage, spans REO's celebrated 35 year career.

REO Speedwagon have sold over 40 million records worldwide and 'Live In The Heartland' takes you on a journey from their 1980 UK top 10 hit "Keep On Loving You" to 1985's "Can't Fight This Feeling" and then on to tracks from their 2007 album release "Find Your Own Way Home".

Long before music television filled the airwaves, the PBS series Soundstage sparked the nation. In an impressive run from 1974-1985, this innovative and prestigious program achieved widespread critical acclaim and featured the artists that defined the era, including such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Al Green, the Doobie Brothers, Harry Chapin, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Loggins, and the Temptations.

Soundstage was reborn in 2003 thanks to Joe Thomas, director and founder of HD Ready. HD Ready specializes in combining high-definition television and cutting-edge surround sound. Thomas' vision was to combine the one-hour musical performances of the original show with state-of-the-art high definition video equipment and innovative Dolby 5.1 audio.

Whether it is an American treasure like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or newer superstar like Dashboard Confessional, Soundstage provides every viewer with the best seat in the house. "What I envisioned was bringing the entire audience to the 10th row and building a stage commensurate with what you would see at an arena show instead of asking the artist to alter their performance for a smaller venue, " states Thomas. "We are so fortunate to have attracted such a diverse group of artists for Soundstage. I think more and more musicians are realizing that coming on our show gives them the rare opportunity to solely perform their best work in an intimate setting, for TV."

The majority of the concerts are filmed before studio audiences at WTTW's Grainger Studio in Chicago, equipped with 12 cameras, including a jib and Steadicam. Soundstage also occasionally hits the road, taping at venues like Red Rocks, Meyerson Symphony Center, Rialto Square Theatre Genessee Theater, Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rosemont Theatre, Tsongas Arena, Fleet Center, Germain Amphitheater and Madison Square Garden.

Since Soundstage has been reintroduced, performers have included the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Joss Stone, Robert Plant, Wilco, Sonic Youth, the All-American Rejects, KT Tunstall, Train, Alison Krauss, Alanis Morissette, Daughtry, John Fogerty, and countless more of today's premiere artists.

REO Speedwagon – Official Biography:

REO Speedwagon - Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (lead guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums) – released "Find Your Own Way Home" in 2007, their first studio collection of new material in more than a decade.

The roots of the new album go back to the spring of 2000, when the band joined forces with fellow Midwest rockers Styx for a national, sold-out, co-headlining tour. The tour proved to be such a commercial success that it was recorded live and released on both CD and DVD, jokingly entitled "Arch Allies". The bands appeared together on US TV via the Today show, VH1, and on numerous syndicated radio shows, including The Howard Stern Show.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, both bands worked together to organize a series of concerts that would benefit the New York Port Authority Police and the families of the officers who tragically lost their lives.

Over the following two years, REO Speedwagon toured non-stop. In addition to performing in all the expected concert markets, the band got back to its roots in small town America.

"These are the people who supported our music from the beginning. This is REO country", says Kevin Cronin, describing the fans who enthusiastically sing along every night to the songs he has written such as the number one hits, "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Keep On Loving You, " as well as the classics "Roll With the Changes, " "Keep Pushin', " "Time for Me to Fly, " "Riding the Storm Out, " and "Take It On the Run."

During this time, the band was honored with a Behind the Music special on VH1 and Kevin Cronin was a guest panelist on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, as well as coming in a close second place on Rock 'n Roll Jeopardy.

In 2003, REO joined fellow classic rockers Journey and Styx for the "Main Event Tour, " a sold-out, critically-acclaimed arena tour of all the markets that they had been entertaining since the late '70s. Music critics noted that REO had "kept their standards extremely high, " and were "thrilling their fans night after night with their incredible power, sheer energy, and songs that will live forever."

New songs have been the lifeblood of REO since its first album in 1971, so it was natural that inspiration would strike during the "Main Event Tour" and drive REO to start writing new songs in between concert performances. The band began introducing these new songs into their live shows and the fan reaction was positive. The new album was born.

While not on the road, the band spent 2 years in the studio working on their first CD of new songs since 1996's Building the Bridge.

"It has been an intense few years, crazy years for me, but that's when I usually do my best writing, " says Cronin. "All of us have been going through some big-time changes, and it shows in our performances on the new record."

The band has teamed up with producer, keyboard whiz and all-around musical genius Joe Vannelli (Gino's brother and musical partner).

"Joe has brought a musicality to the new songs, which is thrilling, " says Cronin. "Dave is playing with such amazing versatility, using all his vast arsenal of guitars and amps. Bruce and Bryan, who have always been such a powerhouse rhythm section, have never played tighter or stronger together. And Joe's keyboard ideas are taking our music to places we've never been before, and will allow Neal to take those ideas to our live shows."

The buzz in the REO camp is unmistakable. It is a familiar feeling for this band, one they felt in 1978 during the sessions for their classic album You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can't Tuna Fish and again three years later when they released the 10-million-selling Hi Infidelity.

"We have been through it all and you just feel it when the pieces seem to be coming together, " says Bruce Hall, "and I am feeling it big time on this album."

"With some records it feels like you are swimming upstream and others just have a flow, " says Cronin. "Find Your Own Way Home" was conceived out of turmoil, but as these songs have evolved there is a momentum that is seemingly unstoppable. It is cool that it is all coming from this music. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

2007 was a major comeback year for a band that never really went away. While other bands went on hiatus when they hit rough times, REO has toured every year since its inception in 1971.

“We love to play live,” says Hall, “it just keeps getting better.”

With the release of “Find Your Own Way Home”, the band feels its energy rekindled and its purpose renewed. This is not an ending at all; rather a new beginning. Kevin, Dave, Bruce, Neal and Bryan have something to prove

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