Thousands of spectators welcomed the return of live music to the Twin Cities Friday night as rock icons Styx, Cheap Trick and 38 Special took the stage at Lakefront Music Fest in Lakefront Park.

Southern rock legends 38 Special warmed up the sold-out crowd with an energizing set that included classic rock radio mainstays such as "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught up in You." 

The hill at Lakefront Music Fest

Organizers expected a crowd of 17,000 for Lakefront Music Fest on July 9.

Then Cheap Trick took the stage, performing their signature live classics "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender" with full crowd participation as guitarist Rick Nielsen chucked handfuls of guitar picks to spectators.

Guitar picks

Festivalgoers hold up guitar picks they caught from Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick.

Finally, the headliner Styx took the stage at around 10 p.m., with the crowd at full capacity, stretching all the way up the hill at Lakefront Park. Lead vocalist Lawrence Gowan, from atop a rotating keyboard platform, bewitched spectators with his theatrical flourishes and powerful voice, belting out prog rock classics such as "Come Sail Away" and "Lady."

Tommy Shaw

Styx’s Tommy Shaw holds up his guitar after after a raucous solo.

The music continues tonight with extended sets by country superstar Jake Owen and opener Noah Guthrie, after headliner Lady A announced the cancellation of their set due to a health emergency.

Tickets for tonight's performances are also sold out, according to the Prior Lake Rotary Club, which hosts the festival as its major yearly fundraiser for its charity work.