By the Way

REO and Loretta Lynn played sold-out shows on the Coast — did you go?

Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon leads the band through a sold-out show Friday at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi.
Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon leads the band through a sold-out show Friday at the IP Casino Resort in Biloxi. Courtesy

REO Speedwagon made a triumphant return to Biloxi on Friday with a sold-out show at the IP Casino Resort. The show was not only the band’s first show on the Coast of 2017, it was also the first show on American soil since 2016. And for those of you who have seen the band in the past year or so, it was much different set that the band played in 2016.

Sure, they opened with “Don’t Let Him Go” and closed with “Roll With The Changes” before the final encore, but what happened in between was completely unexpected.

Don’t worry, the songs you want to hear — “Music Man,” “Take it On The Run” and “Keep Pushin’ ” — were all there. But there was also a mini solo-acoustic set by Kevin Cronin that included “ In My Dreams,” “Golden Country” and “Building The Bridge.” If anyone had predicted that was going to happen before the show started, I would have told them they were lying.

The highlight of any REO show for a diehard fan is when bassist Bruce Hall takes the mic to sing “Back on The Road Again” from 1979’s “Nine Lives.”

Although the Cronin cracked wise a few times that the band was a little rusty, it was not true when they played audience favorites such as “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” and “Keep on Loving You.”

The band also redeemed itself with the set’s final song, a rocking version of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” REO played a pretty sloppy version of it during their March 2016 show at the IP, but they more than made up for it Friday night. I don’t think ol’ Ted himself could have played it better.

Loretta Lynn at the Beau

Loretta Lynn, the queen of country music, made a royal appearance with two sold-out shows Friday and Saturday at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

Ms. Lynn looked elegant in her teal green formal dress and her voice was on point. For someone who will be 85 in April, Ms. Lynn sang her songbook like a pro — her voice sounded both familiar and experienced.

It was a real treat to see Ms. Lynn in prime form. During her 2016 in Biloxi, she had a cold and struggled through her songs, seeking assistance from her daughter Patsy and granddaughter, Tayla. But on Saturday at the Beau, Patsy and her twin sister, Peggy, opened the night, but the show was all Ms. Lynn’s.