(CBS) REO Speedwagon got its start in the late 1960s in Champaign, Ill., and its members haven't forgotten their Midwest roots -- as they showed Friday when they did a live concert on The Early Show for the people of Greensburg, Kan. -- the tiny town that was all but destroyed by a massive tornado on May 4, 2007.
It was part of the broadcast's weeklong series, "Tragedy to Triumph: Greensburg Rising" -- marking the one-year point in the town's rebuilding efforts.
"The people of Kansas, the people of the Midwest in general, are the people who put us where we are today," lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player Kevin Cronin told Early Show features reporter and weatherman Dave Price when asked what prompted the band to come to Greensburg when it's used to playing packed arenas in much larger venues. "We owe it all to you guys, and for us to be able to come back and do this for you, it's our honor. We are honored you had us!"
They wanted to help celebrate Greensburg's triumph over tragedy.
Noting the refusal by Greensburg's residents to give in to despair, and their insistence on rebuilding, Cronin said, "We're Midwesterners -- and the people in the Midwest know how to balance it. We know how to work hard, take care of business and, when the business is done, we know how to party!"
Cronin's daughter, 11, was also on hand. When Kevin told her about his trip to Greensburg, she passed the news along to her classmates, who were inspired by the town's story and wrote letters to its residents. In addition, their school had a collection for the town, and Holly presented the letters to Greensburg Mayor John Janssen -- along with a jar with the money in it -- $1,673 -- collected in only two days. And the band matched that amount.
REO performed several of their best-selling songs, including, "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Roll With The Changes," and their most current, "Find Your Own Way Home," released in April 2007.