Though the energy of Citi Field had died down by the ninth inning as the Mets fell to the Cincinnati Reds 7-3, a substitution in center field brought Mets and Reds fans back to life when REO Speedwagon came in to play.
The band played the first show in the 2012 post-game concert series at Citi Field, being held throughout the summer, to thousands of fans who stuck around for the show.
Despite any Met fans feeling down about the loss, they sang along to the band’s popular hits such as, “Take it on the Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” with cell phone lights swaying back and forth in place of lighters.
REO frontman Kevin Cronin came out sporting a blue Mets warm-up jersey, and kept it on during the first few songs.
Matt Christiansen was visiting from Houston on business when he and his friend Adam Fish went to the game. A Mets fan, Christiansen said this had been his first trip to Citi Field. What shocked him even more was finding out this had been the first post-game concert the ballpark ever hosted.
“I just got us tickets,” he said with excitement, elaborating that they simply planned to catch a baseball game. When they found out REO Speedwagon was playing, Christiansen said, they were excited a concert would be included in their ticket.
Christiansen, who said he saw the band in 1984 when they were touring with Cheap Trick, said the group sounded great after all these years.
His friend’s first game at the young ballpark was just two weeks to the day earlier, when Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in team history. Fish said he thought it was great that in half a month’s time, he’d experienced two milestones in the stadium’s history.
“That’s pretty cool,” he said as he and his friend stood outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. “Two firsts at Citi Field.”
Mike DeBasquale, from Ledger, Connecticut, took his father, who is a big fan of the group, to the game as part of Father’s Day. DeBasquale, who was also with his fiancee, said he could not believe the group’s energy after being around for 40 years.
REO Speedwagon became the third band or artist to play at Citi Field. Paul McCartney christened the stadium in July 2009 with three shows; the Dave Matthews Band followed the act in July 2010.
Two more post-game concerts are scheduled this summer at Citi Field. Daughtry is scheduled to play following the Mets-Dodgers game on July 20; MercyMe, a Christian rock group, will play after the Mets-Braves game on August 10.