Arch Allies: Live at Riverport [Video/DVD]

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Arch Allies was filmed at the Riverport Amphitheatre in St. Louis during the highly successful 2000-2001 tour featuring Styx with REO Speedwagon, and features live performances of some of the bands' biggest hits of the 1980s and 1990s. It is divided into three parts, with Styx playing first, followed by REO, and finally wrapping up with a jam featuring both bands. For their parts, both bands sound great. Styx perform with three "new" members who really add to the live sound. Glen Burtnik and Todd Sucherman provide a great, powerful rhythm section perhaps not as evident in the older days of Styx, and Burtnik's strength as a vocalist really enhances the band's harmonies. Lawrence Gowan is a wonderful addition as well. He is a strong vocalist, an amazing keyboardist, and a dynamic performer who really adds to Styx's live show. James "JY" Young and Tommy Shaw are powerful as always and, in particular, Shaw's vocals are as good, maybe better, than they've ever been. The band as a whole sounds more youthful and passionate than ever. REO Speedwagon has also seen personnel changes over the years but that great sound is still there. Kevin Cronin's vocals are strong, and great care seems to have been taken to recreate the songs as they sounded on record. A selection of REO classics is supported by strong vocal and instrumental work. The ballads are as crisp as ever and the rockers rock. The concert wraps up with both bands jamming together on Styx's "Blue Collar Man" and REO's "Roll With the Changes." The bands work surprisingly well together and the performance is a memorable, up-tempo affair. The DVD may be lacking in some of the features fans expect from the medium, but the music is the whole point anyway and these two bands deliver the goods. Styx and REO Speedwagon have been around for quite some time but, if Arch Allies is any indication, they won't be slowing down for some time to come.

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