The Hard Rock Cafe celebrated it’s 40th Birthday with a free all-day blowout on the streets of Orlando on Saturday night. West Coast rockers, Everclear put a nice end to the day’s festivities at the Wall Street stage with a powerful and engaging set that featured many of the hits that made them a stalwart act in the nineties when I first saw them live.
The band is still fronted by the energetic Art Alexakis, who is the heart and soul behind the band, and the only original member still with Everclear. Alexakis seemed to be having tons of fun throughout the sixty minute set, often joking with the crowd and his band mates. At times it was hard to picture the effervescent front man as the same guy who had endured a severely troubled and drug-filled youth. The songs and the lyrics are still as poignant as ever, and his vocals still powerful and distinctive, but he seems to be having a blast sharing them. A decade or so later, all of the songs still ring true.
The set was highlighted by great versions of “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” and a few songs from their fantastic 1995 album So Much For the Afterglow; a song Alexakis introduced as a song about love, not money, “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Everything To Everyone.”
The guys spent the middle of their set focused on 2000’s Song From an American Movie. playing “AM Radio,” “Wonderful,” and then their excellent rendition of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” performed this night with Alexakis alone on stage with just his acoustic guitar. “Brown Eyed Girl” was just one of many cover tunes they toyed with during the show. It was followed immediately by an acapella version of the Rolling Stones “Faraway Eyes” which featured the entire band crowded around a microphone in the middle of the stage.
They continued their focus on cover tunes when they kicked off their encore with a very cool medley that featured
- Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”
- Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”
- Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”
- Deep Purple’s “Smoke On the Water”
- The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane”
- And, finally an awesome close with a rousing version of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Rock and Roll” featuring the Parlor Mob’s Mark Malicia on vocals.
They closed the night out with an audience sing-along to their signature hit “Santa Monica” which is still as relevant and timeless today.
Alexakis noted that the current configuration of the band will be headed back to the studio soon to record some new music. Looking forward to hearing the new stuff and discovering what’s up next for Alexakis and crew.
A Peek at “I Will Buy You a New Life”