REO Speedwagon will perform a pair of concerts to help Thousand Oaks heal from Woolsey fire, Borderline shooting

REO Speedwagon will perform a pair of concerts to help Thousand Oaks heal from Woolsey fire, Borderline shooting

 

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REO Speedwagon has turned its January gig in Thousand Oaks into a pair of fundraisers for victims of the Borderline nightclub shooting that rocked the community and the devastating Woolsey wildfire that followed.

“Who can imagine those two disasters happening on top of each other? It’s a tough one for sure,” said lead singer Kevin Cronin, who lives in Westlake Village.

All the proceeds from the band’s Jan. 12 concert in the Fred Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza will go to the Ventura County Community Foundation. The band is working on adding a second concert Jan. 13, a Sunday. Details are still being worked out, but tickets for the second show will go on sale via Ticketmaster on Thursday, Nov. 15.

REO Speedwagon was performing in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, the date of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting, said Cronin.

“There’s a feeling of empathy that you get any time there’s a disaster, but when it happens close to home, there’s a different level of emotional connection. It definitely hit hard,” said lead singer Kevin Cronin.

Cronin was speaking in a phone interview from Milwaukee. The band went out on a Midwest tour shortly before the night of Nov. 7, when a gunman opened fire in the Borderline Bar & Grill. The attack claimed 13 lives, including the shooter’s.

Kevin Cronin and Neal Doughty of REO Speedwagon perform during Sammy Hagar’s High Tide beach Party & Car Show in October at Huntington State Beach. (File photo by Kelly A. Swift, Contributing Photographer)

Cronin’s twin sons Josh and Shane are in a band called Sir, Please that played Borderline shortly before the attack and will open for REO Speedwagon at both Thousand Oaks concerts.

“The club has been part of what we talk about at the kitchen table,” Kevin said. “To have this horrible shooting happen there just a couple of miles from home was hard to fathom.”

Cronin announced the idea of turning the Thousand Oaks concert into a fundraiser on REO Speedwagon’s Facebook page on Nov. 8. The suggestion came from his wife Lisa. Cronin said the band “was on board immediately.” Lead guitarist David Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt also live in Thousand Oaks.

The 1,800-seat Kavli Theatre was the site of a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims last week. Cronin said his daughter Holly, who is attending the University of Southern California, came home to attend as the fire broke out.

“The next thing my daughter knew she was helping my wife pack up the SUV with photographs.”

The benefits are the only L.A. shows on REO Speedwagon’s calendar, although it will be playing Harrah’s Resort Southern California in northern San Diego County the night before, on Jan. 11.

Cronin wrote two of REO Speedwagon’s biggest hits, “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” songs the band usually plays in its concerts.

Because of the wildfires and Monday’s Veterans Day concert, theater staff was not available Monday to nail down a time for the Jan. 13 concert. Beyond scheduling, Cronin said the band wants to make sure that the events are put together in a way that will meet the needs of Thousand Oaks residents.

“It will be a different thing,” Cronin said. “Obviously we want to give people a good show with all the hits that they’ve come to know and love, but there will definitely be an aspect of the show honoring the memories of the people who were so senselessly murdered a the Borderline as well as finding a way to benefit people who have been left homeless. … We’re going to do our part in the best way we know how.”

REO Speedwagon

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 12; details to come for concert on Jan. 13.

Where: Fred Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks

Tickets: $61-$131.

Information: 805-449-2787, reospeedwagon.com

To donate: Ventura County Community Foundation, vccf.org