The Plaza Theatre Live – I’ll be Back…

I recently saw my first show at the Plaza Theatre Live in downtown Orlando, and absolutely loved this venue on Bumby Street.

The theater just reeks of character. It’s a converted movie theater from many years past, and has that comfortable nostalgic feel, yet is still a nice modern place to see a show.

On the night we were in attendance, we saw an acoustic solo artist, Jackie Bristow and the rock and roll of John Waite and his band. The sound was not pristine, but was definitely above average.

There’s not a bad seat in the house literally and figuratively. The seats are worn, but they’re large and comfortable, and the sight lines are excellent. There is a balcony, but it was closed on the evening we were in the house, so I can’t provide an opinion from the rafters. It is up there, so if you suffer from frequent nose bleeds beware…

They have a great beer selection. $6 for 16 oz and $9 for 24 oz seems over-priced, yet typical these days – but at least you are not sipping some crap like Bud Light. I had Longboard the night I was there, and the 6 beers on tap were very diverse. A nice bottled beer selection, too. The Plaza also serves wine – I don’t drink wine, so I have no idea if the selection was worth a damn, although I suspect it was, based on the fantastic beer choices.

Miscellaneous Ramblings:

  • The bartenders were friendly and helpful, as was the rest of the staff.
  • Tickets include a $5 service fee, which is always a bummer, but seems to be a bargain compared to other venues these days. And, you don’t have to deal with the evil Ticketmaster empire.
  • Bathrooms were clean.
  • Those of you still too weak to quit smoking have an area outside on the front patio.
  • Parking? There’s plenty of it immediately surrounding the theater, and it is free, free, free…

Bottom line: I love the place, and I’ll be back.

Worth the Waite

Definitely, worth the wait!

I finally had a chance to check out one of my early favorites; about 30 years after I should have.  John Waite made a stop in Orlando on Sunday evening for a show at Plaza Theater Live. Waite first hit my radar as lead singer of The Baby’s late in the Seventies, then had some hits of his own in the 80’s and with Bad English in the 90’s, but for some reason, I never saw him perform live.

He got the show off to a rousing start with a version of The Baby’s “Back On My Feet Again,” in front of an appreciative yet small crowd at this fantastic venue. His distinctive voice is still perfect, and his three piece band sounded sharp.  Truthfully, I went to the show hoping he’d play every song off of Anthology (The Baby’s 1981 Greatest Hits album), throw in a couple of other hits and call it a night, but John has grown up a bit over the years, and I think it is safe to say he’s moved on since the band broke, as he noted “It’s hard to believe that The Baby’s BROKE UP over 30 years ago.”

Over the remainder of the night, Waite only played two other Baby’s tunes, but filled the 90+ minute set with a diverse group of songs that spanned his last three decades.  “If You Ever Get Lonely” from his newly released “Rough and Tumble” album was great and would be a huge hit if he were an 18 year-old American Idol finalist, instead of a classic rocker in his 4th decade of touring. Other highlights included, Bad English’s “When I see You Smile, his own hits “Missing You” and his closer “Change.”  More than a few of his songs were clearly influenced by his Nashville days, and just added to his appealing musical diversity.

Waite frequently interacted with the crowd, shared some cool anecdotes, and genuinely seemed to be having a fun time.  The highlight for me was his unexpected cover of Dylan’s (and Jimi’s) “All Along the Watchtower.” He tore it up, with a nice assist from his guitarist – some young dude from Philly, who literally joined the band a few weeks earlier.

I have to confess that I missed the line-up of band members during a trip to the rest room  Did I mention that the Plaza has Longboard on tap?

The opening act was Jackie Bristow. a beautiful Kiwi with an equally beautiful voice. She play unaccompanied acoustic guitar and was very intriguing. Her voice was unique.  Mix Australian with a hint of Nashville and you’ll have an idea.  Lots of promise, for sure.

All told, it was a really good show from start to finish, highlighting Waite’s amazing voice and deep diverse music catalog. Not a weak song in the bunch. I’m thinking that I won’t wait 30+ years to catch him again.

 

John Waite in Orlando, new stuff from the Cars and Coldplay

So, my first trip to Orlando’s Plaza Theater Live tonight to see John Waite.  Waite made his initial impression when the Baby’s hit it big in the 80’s, and followed those hits with a few of his own as well as a couple with Bad Religion.  I’ll provide a review later in the week: of the show and the venue!

A few other random thoughts for today:

  • Coldplay’s new single “Every Drop is a Watefall” sounds great and has a fresh new sound.
  • I’m also guiltily digging the Cars new “Sad Song.” I loved the Cars sound in the 80’s despite their passionless live performances. But, that was 25 years ago. Since the, Bassist and the voice of all my favorite Cars tunes, Benjamin Orr died of Pancreatic cancer, and the rest of the band members have hit or are approaching 60. But, this new tune sounds as good as their classic 80’s stuff. Obviously, Ric Ocasek still has what it takes.

So, what’s the deal with this RARA’s Farm site?

Over the years, I’ve realized that the one constant throughout my life has been rock and roll music. I’ve been listening for four decades, and love today’s rock as much as I enjoyed the great stuff in those halcyon high school days of the past. Over the years, I’ve dropped thousands on Albums, Cassettes, 8-Tracks, CD’s and MP3’s.  By my slightly damaged memory, I’ve seen 500+ bands live from the biggest names to ones no one has ever heard of. If it’s live, I love to be there.

To top it off, I love to write about Rock and Roll, and I love to discuss this core part of my life, and of course, share my opinions.  On this site, we’ll have some fun together; we’ll make some world altering decisions (like what is the greatest driving song ever?); and we’ll share rock trivia and news.

So, thanks for stopping by, as we try to grow into a worthwhile Rock and Roll forum.

A Rock 'n Roll Community

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