Annual 'Stars & Guitars' festival presents REO Speedwagon, Deep Purple, and Mountain July 1-2

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This year, the Stars and Guitars Festival will feature some of classic rock’s most celebrated artists. REO Speedwagon will rock the stage on July 1. The following day, Mountain will open for Deep Purple on July 2.

With this back-to-back weekend lineup, Stars and Guitars will surely be the festival not to miss this summer in Rockford. REO Speeedwagon is credited for inventing the power ballad, and holds smash hits such as “Can’t Fight this Feeling,” “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Take It On The Run,” “Time for Me to Fly” and “Building The Bridge.”

The band that had its start in 1968, touring across America’s heartland in a rented Chevy station wagon, has since produced 17 critically acclaimed albums and scored 13 Top 40 singles.

REO formed in 1971 and has been touring and recording non-stop since. There have been no farewell tours and no reunion tours. REO Speedwagon has made itself a household name the old-fashioned way, starting by playing in bars and working their way up.

This strong work ethic has created a following that has transcended generations. Much of what is referred to as the “Spirit of REO Speedwagon” began with the interaction between the audience and the band in the early days and has led to these long-time fans singing alongside high school and college-age fans.

Deep Purple is also no stranger to success. The internationally acclaimed band has been around since 1968, beginning their career with music that listeners deemed to be shockingly progressive and underground. Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, Don Airey, and Steve Morse have all contributed to the band’s success with more than 100 million albums sold and continuously sold-out shows over the years. A few of Deep Purple’s long list of hits include “Hush,” “Kentucky Woman,” “River Deep-Mountain High,” “Black Night,” “Woman From Tokyo,” and “Smoke On The Water.”

Those of you who jammed to one of Mountain’s biggest hits, “Mississippi Queen,” in 1970, will be thrilled to see them open for Deep Purple at the July 2 show. The great band born of the ’60’s music explosion holds a predominate place in rock music’s development. Leslie West’s guitar antics and Corky Laing’s drumming skills have been copied for generations.

Mountain has also put out three gold albums over the years.

Tickets are available at the MetroCentre Box Office and outlets by phone at 968-5222. Tickets are $50 for Gold Seats (first two rows), and $28.50 for regular seating for each show.

From the May 4-10, 2005, issue

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