It had been a long time coming, but last Friday night I was sitting outside in a crowd of approximately 6,400 classic rock fans screaming, singing along, playing air guitar, and throwing up the "devil's horns". As two iconic bands "rocked out" on a beautiful Iowa summer evening in Fort Dodge, I was loving every minute of it.

Outdoor summer concerts are the best!

Fort Dodge's annual celebration, called "Shellabration" on Friday night, July 2nd was AWESOME! I have to tell you, it felt REALLY GOOD to be able to enjoy a live show again. As several posters mentioned on Shellabration's Facebook page, the organization of this event was outstanding, everything from class acts, parking, the speed of getting in & out, good food, reasonable beer prices, and no waiting in lines. In between shows, there was a special patriotic moment when the entire crowd waved miniature American flags and sang along to a video of Neil Diamond's song, "Coming to America", it was very moving and it felt good to come together as one.

38 Special and Cheap Trick ROCKED on a giant stage in Fort Dodge

A popular cover band called "Saucy Jack" opened the show, followed by southern-rockers 38 Special, who had a fantastic set. They played hit after hit and had the crowd's attention the whole time. Then it was time for "the greatest f***-ing band you've ever seen" (that's how they're introduced) Cheap Trick! Full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of the band, so I loved the show. Although, they might not have been quite as "tight" as 38 Special. Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen even admitted "we're a little rusty" and I thought they lost the crowd about halfway through the set, but they brought them right back with a strong finish playing the hits, the "Dream Police", "The Flame", "I Want You To Want Me" and of course, "Surrender".

The band is still as popular as ever, selling out of merchandise early in the night. You can still catch them live around the midwest before they continue their tour of the U.S., Canada, and Europe through September of 2022.

Scroll down for  photos from the Cheap Trick/38 Special's show in Fort Dodge

It's been a great start to summer for classic rock fans as Reo Speedwagon and Head East played in Cedar Rapids and Styx lit up the stage in Dubuque over the 4th of July weekend. There are many more concerts that are scheduled to happen this summer in Iowa. Night Ranger is playing the historic Surf Ballroom on Friday, July 9th. And here's another band that I'm pumped up to see live for my first time, that "lil ole band from Texas", ZZ Top is in concert Friday night, July 16th at the Delaware County Fair in Manchester.

There's a ton of great classic rock shows in Iowa this summer and fall

Later this month, headbangers can check out Queensryche and Skidrow at the Dubuque County Fair on July 30th. Then Billy Idol is kicking off his huge 2021 tour in Cedar Rapids at McGrath Amphitheatre on Sunday, August 1st.

The great shows just keep coming, Foreigner on August 11th and Blue Oyster Cult on August 13th in Cedar Rapids. Plus, Styx with Tesla and the Doobie Brothers playing the Iowa State Fair. In September, it's Joan Jett & the BlackHearts at the Surf Ballroom September 10th and the Marshall Tucker Band on September 24th at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.

Grab some friends, score some tickets and go check out a great live classic rock show in Iowa this summer!

Cheap Trick & 38 Special Live in Ft. Dodge July 2, 2021 - Photos

"Shellabration" takes place annually in Fort Dodge, Iowa. It's a perfect setting for an outdoor concert.

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