Thousands of Central Florida classic rock fans flocked to downtown Orlando to catch a nice triple billing, featuring 80’s Rock Legends The Romantics, John Waite and Modern English.
The flashback was the latest installment of WMMO’s wildly successful Free Downtown Concert Series and the fans were the recipient of a night full of excellent rock music, big hair and Jordache jeans. On this night, the hair was a bit thinner, the jeans a little more snug, but the music just how we remembered it.
I arrived just after the Modern English set and missed the band that made it big with the iconic 80’s hit “I Melt With You.”
John Waite who frequently visits Orlando was back with his band and played hits spanning his entire career, in its many incarnations, over his hour long set. Waite who is now in his fourth decade as a front man still has an amazing voice and put on a great show. The Baby’s hit “Head First” immediately kicked the set into high gear, which also featured several other tracks from the band including “Midnight Rendezvous,” “Every Time I Think of You” and “Back On My Feet Again.”
The crowd was also treated to Waite’s huge hits “Change” and “Missing You,” and a great solo a capella singalong version of Bad English’s “When I See You Smile.” Two highlights for me were rollicking versions of “No More Mr. Wonderful” and the closing cover of Tina Turners’s “Sweet Rhode Island Red.” Great stuff from an iconic rock voice.
The Romantics headlined the show and played a full set, featuring songs from the past 35 years of their career. The quartet is absent their original lead singer Jimmy Marinos, but their current line-up boasts the other three original members and the vocals still sound great. Wally Palmar takes over lead vocals on most songs and fills in admirably. He is joined by fellow original members Mike Skill on guitar and bassist Rich Cole. The set featured all of their hits including “First In Line,” “When I Look in Your Eyes” and a fun singalong version of “Talking In Your Sleep.”
The band also threw in two of their more punk-based offerings. “She’s Got Everything” had the crowd dancing in the streets,and a rocking version of “Stone Pony” featured powerful animated drumming from Brad Elvis. They closed their set and the night with the crowd-pleasing “What I Like About You.”
Kudos to WMMO, who continue to provide great free music to rock music fans of Central Florida. The new location at Amelia and Orange in downtown Orlando is also a nice improvement and the set-up with two stages was a great touch. Special thanks to WMMO radio host Elise Rossi for her help and support!
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