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Posted on Fri. Nov. 09, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

’80s rockers still bringing out big crowds

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Postponed

The Journey/Pat Benatar/Loverboy concert originally scheduled for Sunday at Memorial Coliseum has been postponed until early 2013. Tickets for the postponed show will be honored at the new concert. Refunds may be obtained at the point of purchase.

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Asked how touring with Journey now differs from touring with the band 30 years ago, Loverboy lead singer Mike Reno says, “Fewer hangovers.”

And, apparently, more senior moments.

The members of Loverboy got lost on their way to the stage before a recent concert, something that could have just as plausibly happened to Justin Bieber.

The point is not how long it takes Loverboy to reach the stage. The point is how many fans are waiting for them when they get there.

A lot.

“A promoter came to me and said, ‘I can’t believe how early people are coming to these concerts,’ ” Reno says. “ ‘They’re not coming at 8 o’clock. They’re in their seats by a quarter to 7. They don’t want to miss your show.’ ”

There were undoubtedly plenty of area fans who also did not want to miss Loverboy’s local show, but their choice of arrival time was made temporarily moot Thursday when the Fort Wayne leg of the Journey/Pat Benatar/Loverboy tour was postponed.

Five Midwestern shows were postponed Thursday after Journey’s singer Arnel Pineda was diagnosed with “severe laryngeal and esophageal inflammation” and was placed under doctor’s orders not to perform for a week.

The concerts will be rescheduled for January or February, according to a news release from Memorial Coliseum via Scoop Marketing, but no specific dates were mentioned.

Of course, the affable Reno was blissfully unaware of these developments when he spoke with The Journal Gazette.

In the ’80s, Reno was one of the reigning sex symbols of rock ’n’ roll and he says MTV is to blame for that.

Reno recalls delivering three music videos to the network at a point in basic cable history when the term “music video” hadn’t even been coined yet.

“They didn’t even know what to call it,” he recalls. “They said, ‘We want you to shoot some live performances.’ We delivered them the first week MTV opened.

“… They didn’t have a lot of stuff so they played one of our songs every hour. It got to the point where we couldn’t go down the street to buy a newspaper without being mobbed.”

Then, too, there was that notorious album cover for “Get Lucky,” which depicted a red leather-clad derriere and a pair of crossed fingers, all of which belonged to Reno.

Reno says the only reason anybody in the band possessed leather pants was because the husband of a publicist who owned a leather shop had offered Loverboy a free shopping spree.

An art director at Columbia saw a picture of Reno wearing the red leather pants and decided to build the album cover around that concept.

“It was funny because the other guys wore red pants too,” he says. “I wore other colors. I even had a yellow pair.”

After scoring eight major hits and a handful of minor ones, Loverboy’s commercial fortunes waned in the late ’80s and the band broke up for several years.

It reunited in 1991 for a fundraiser and has been together ever since.

Much has been made in the media of Reno’s weight gain in the intervening years and his recent loss.

“You know how it is,” he says. “You put on a few pounds every year, and before you know it, 10 years have gone by and you’re 40 pounds overweight.

“I just wasn’t paying attention,” Reno says. “As you get older, you start thinking about how you feel. I have managed to keep most of it off. I am feeling like I am in a good place.”

Loverboy has remained popular, Reno says, but it’s been a long time since the band has seen the sort of crowds that have been showing up to dates on this current tour.

Reno says the band takes nothing for granted.

“We have learned what it takes to maintain a career in this business,” he says. “This tour is a good example. Nine buses going down the road. We’ve contended with two hurricanes and we’re still doing it. And the audiences are still coming.

“It’s an honor,” Reno says. “We all feel like it’s an honor to still be doing what we love and doing it at this level.”

spen@jg.net


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