There’s little better than feeling younger for a few hours.
And there’s no shortage of bands out there willing to fire up the time machine and bring you back — particularly with the summer months upon us.
Whether at festivals or one-night engagements, our favorite bands from yesteryear are arriving in droves to offer just a little reprieve from the many ways that aging sucks.
But let’s head up to the stage knowing we truly can’t go back — and either can they.
We’ve all had that experience …
They arrive with the name and the logo. They have the merch and play all the songs. Though as for the product on stage, it doesn’t seem quite right: “How does the guitarist of a band founded in 1972 look about 20 years old?” you wonder.
You find out later that the lone original members consist of a light guy and a guitar tech.
We’re not here to pass judgment on nostalgia acts. Hey, any night with live music is an excellent night. Get out there, enjoy and sing along with your favorites.
While ear plugs are advisable, there’s no need to head in with blinders on.
With the summer schedule ramping up, Valley Review takes a closer look at the nostalgia acts that are on their way and how they compare to the bands that won us over decades ago.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; July 11, Waterfest, Oshkosh
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will forever be known for one of rock’s greatest anthems in “I Love Rock n’ Roll.” Joan Jett is a rock legend with punk cred and a Hall of Fame statuette, although the Blackhearts have long been a rotating cast. The longest tenured member behind Jett is drummer Thommy Price, who’s hung around since 1986.
None but the biggest Joan Jett fans would be able to name a single Blackheart from any of the four decades in which they performed. Checking out this show without giving a damn about any of the supporting cast will not give you a bad reputation.
Loverboy, 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul; July 13, Catfish Concert, Greenville
For the record, our definition of nostalgia act might differ from that of the bands included. They may be recording new music. They may play new music during the show. Though if older crowds are there solely for songs recorded before their hairs started graying, they qualify for our list.
And that brings to Greenville’s Catfish Concert; an annual ode to radio favorites.
The two headlining acts skew younger than those in recent editions, but are still worthy of a look.
Collective Soul, founded in 1992, remains largely intact with founding frontman Ed Roland and his younger brother, guitarist and founding member Dean Roland. Founding bassist Will Turpin continues to bring the groove. Today’s version is rounded off by drummer Johnny Rabb and guitarist Jesse Triplett, who joined in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
As for 3 Doors Down, frontman Brad Arnold is the lone remaining original member, though guitarist Chris Henderson — who joined in 1998 — as there as they peaked with hits including “Kryptonite.”
1980s rockers Loverboy will open the annual Catfish Concert with hits including “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.” In terms of long-time acts, Loverboy is complete as it can possibly be. They feature all original members, but for bassist Scott Smith, who died in 2000.
The key pieces are all there — and we offer big-time props to Loverboy. To see Loverboy in 2019, you’re still seeing the band in all its glory. There’s no reason not to be “lovin’ every minute of it.”
Quiet Riot; July 20, Paperfest, Kimberly
Today’s Quiet Riot lineup has precisely zero of its founding members, but to be fair, its founding drummer, guitarist and bassist each departed prior to the band’s 1983 breakthrough album, Metal Health. Quiet Riot’s sound was recognizable from the vocals of Kevin DuBrow, who died in 2007. Today, guitarist Frankie Banali anchors the band to its heyday having recorded from Metal Health forward. Bassist Chuck Wright first participated in 1985.
Their latest frontman joined in 2017 and is recognizable from outside the metal arena. James Durbin, born six years after the release of Metal Health, finished in fourth place on the 10th season of American Idol.
It’s hard to blame anyone for wanting to fall back into the era of hairspray and leather pants, so hey, “Cum on feel the noize.” Though don’t blame us if hearing a new frontman on the classic songs rattles your metal health.
The Classic Legends Rock Tour featuring The Guess Who, Orleans and Rare Earth; July 19, Fond du Lac County Fair, Fond du Lac
The Guess Who, founded in Canada, made an impact on the American music scene with hits including “American Woman,” “These Eyes” and “Share the Land.” Today, drummer Garry Peterson is the lone remaining original member. Derek Sharp, their vocalist since 2008, was born the same year the band was founded.
Two of five members of Orleans were with the band as they peaked in the mid 1970s with saccharine hits such as “Dance With Me” and “Still the One.”
Rare Earth may have achieved a rare feat in having one member each who has been with the band since the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The lineup is rounded out by two members who joined on in the 1990s.
The band names are classic. The songs are classic. As for the players, it truly is a “guess who.”
Bush and Live; July 26, Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton
The Timber Rattlers will hit the road and the 1990s will treat their home like an airbnb for one night only.
Bush was founded in 1992 when the home team played along Spencer Street and called themselves the Foxes. The band broke up after a decade, though reformed in 2010 and released three albums since that time. Frontman Gavin Rossdale and drummer Robin Goodridge were there from the beginning. Guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Corey Britz have stuck around for the band’s full, second iteration.
Live, founded in 1989, will bring its full, original lineup to Grand Chute.
Fans of the band are going to get the real deal and should expect a major league show at the minor league ballpark.
REO Speedwagon with Night Ranger; Aug. 1, Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis
Although Night Ranger has a longer list of former members than current ones, the core of the band never changed. The band features founding members Jack Blades, Brad Gillis and Kelly Keagy — each of whom had a hand in hits such as “Sister Christian” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.”
Like Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon continues forth with a strong foundation of long-time players. Keyboardist Neal Doughty is the lone holdover from the band’s 1967 founding, though Kevin Cronin, the instantly recognizable voice of the band, has been on the Speedwagon continuously since 1976. Bassist Bruce Hall has been in the band since 1977. The two newbies, Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt, have been in the band for 30 years.
Most of the men behind all of the hits will be on hand for this State Fair memory fest. Enjoy the show. “You Can’t Fight This Feeling” so it doesn’t pay to try.
Sept. 4, Menominee Nation Arena, Oshkosh
Tesla released its latest album just a few months ago, though let’s face it: if you’re going, you’re doing so for “Signs” and for “Love Song.”
But, you’re going to get the band you paid to see. Four members of the quintet were there for all of the glory years. The lone exception, guitarist Dave Rude, joined in 2006.
Thank you Lord for thinking of Tesla — they’re alive and doing fine.