Tag Archives: Amway Center

Central Florida April Concert Calendar

April Rock Music Calendar

Not many shows in the Central Florida rock scene this month at a national level. But we will get Rush and some excellent festivals in all three primary cities: Two full days of Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, Earthday Birthday in Orlando and 98 Rockfest in Tampa. Other than those killer shows, it might be a good month to check out some of the great local rock in your own backyards.

Orlando

04/12 – Anthrax, House of Blues. Metal Alliance Tour
04/12 – Umphrey’s McGee, The Plaza Live

04/13 – Sister Hazel, House of Blues. Gainesville rockers always put on a fun show
04/13 – WJRR’s Earthday Birthday, Tinker Field. Excellent line-up of hard rock powers, featuring Offspring, Papa Roach and Stone Sour

04/17 – All Time Low and Pierce the Veil, House of Blues
04/17 – Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, West End Trading Co (Sanford)

4/18 – 4/20 – Florida Music Festival, Downtown Orlando at various venues. Lots of good new music and plenty of the yet to be discovered.  Local favorites Blaine the Mono and The Dropa Stone, and fun Indie act Reverend Peyton’s Bog Damn Band highlight the schedule: Florida Music Festival.

04/21 – Dick Dale, The Plaza Live. Dale is the father of surf guitar and a legendary guitar player

04/24 – GWAR, The Beacham

04/25 – ASIA, featuring John Payne, Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions – always a great cocktail party, this time with some great rock.

04/26 – The Wailers, House of Blues

04/28 – Rush, Amway Center. The legendary Canadian rockers visit the big house in this month’s highlight show in Orlando.

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Jacksonville

04/01 – Marron 5 with RARA’s Farm favorites Neon Trees (see our concert review) and Owl City, Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena

04/03 – Yes, Florida Theater. This incarnation features Steve Howe, Christopher Squire and Alan White!

04/11 – Unphrey’s McGee, Freebird Live

04/24 – The Wailers, Freebird Live

04/25 – GWAR, Freebird Live

04/26 – Saliva, Jax Underbelly. Welcome To Rockville kick-off

04/27 – Welcome to Rockville, Metropolitan Park. This is a great rock line-up at an excellent venue for a festival: Limp Bizkit, Three Days Grace, Alice in Chains, Stone Sour, Halestorm, Papa Roach

04/28 – Welcome to Rockville, Metropolitan Park Day 2! More great rockers: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Three Doors Down, Shinedown (see our recent review), Buckcherry, Thousand Foot Krutch and many more

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Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

04/02 – Yes, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

04/13 – Foghat – Manatee County Fairgrounds (Palmetto)
04/13 – Umphrey’s McGee, Jannus Live (St. Petersburg)

04/16 – All Time Low and Pierce the Veil,  Jannus Live (St. Petersburg)

04/19 – Dick Dale, State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)

04/25 – The Wailers, Jannus Live (St. Petersburg)

04/26 – 98 Rockfest, Tampa Bay Times Forum. Nice line-up of rockers: Three Days Grace (see our review and photos here), Alice in Chains, Stone Sour, Halestorm and more.

04/27 – Relient K with Mike Mains & The Branches, State Theater (Saint Petersburg)

04/30 – The Black Crowes, Mahaffey Theater (Saint Petersburg)

04/30 – Suicidal Tendencies, State Theater (Saint Petersburg)


Shinedown’s Smashing Ode to Rock Music


Shinedown's Brent Smith in Orlando
Shinedown’s Brent Smith in Orlando

Shinedown Orlando Concert Review

Admittedly, I’m a bit late to the party as it relates to these Jacksonville rock icons. Sure I was familiar with their bigger hits over the past decade, but didn’t truly begin to appreciate them until reviewing their excellent 2012 release Amaryllis, which was one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 5 Albums of 2012.

I was anxious to catch them live to see whether their live show matched the fantastic sound of Amaryllis and to validate the accolades I had heard from my peers.  Saturday night at The Amway Center left no doubt, these guys are rock legends in the making. They embody everything that makes Rock And Roll Animals, like us at RARA’s Farm, tick.

Led by dynamic singer, Brent Smith, this quartet puts on an entertaining, polished show.  All four members are excellent musicians and consummate entertainers.  They made every song memorable and wrapped up a fantastic night that also included strong sets from Three Days Grace and P.O.D.

As the curtain dropped on the show, we saw a close-up of Smith’s face on the large screen, acting like he was lost somewhere, trapped on the other side of the camera. With  drummer Barry Kerch the only band member on stage, Smith shouted “Hey You,” from the screen. Then the spotlights found the sound board in the middle of the floor, where the remaining three members stood upon risers and kicked into an explosive version of “Enemies.”

There were a few other early highlights; Smith implored the crowd to introduce themselves to the folks on their left and right before kicking into a rousing version of “Unity,” the crowd lit up the arena like a starry night for “45,” guitarist Zach Myers and aptly named bassist Eric Bass, swapped places on stage during “Save Me,” and the band moved to the stage’s upper level for “Crow and Butterfly.”  Throughout the set, Bass, Myers and Smith were in constant motion, racing around the stage and playing to the crowd throughout.

There were nice pyrotechnics during the show, including a killer waterfall effect during “If You Only Knew,” and a great choreographed sequence that highlighted the powerful “Sound of Madness.”

Before kicking into “If You Only Knew,” Smith shared “A girl told us earlier today that it’s been 962 days since we played Orlando and that’s too long.” And then offered a memorable moment, “Rock ‘n roll music is about guitars, bass, drums, bad ass vocals and a killer song. The beauty of rock ‘n roll is that it has always been there when you needed it; it’s not a genre, it’s a way of life.” That would look nice on a RARA’s Farm T-shirt, eh?

The core show was great, but the encore absolutely ratcheted the experience up a notch.  It kicked off with a powerful version of “Sound of Madness,” and up until then the song of the night, “Second Chance,” which had the fans at a fever pitch, pumping their fists, on a tune that Smith just nailed vocally.

Shinedown's Brent Smith and Zach Myers
Shinedown’s Brent Smith and Zach Myers on the floor at Amway Center

What happened next was my highlight of the night.  Smith and Myers slipped out to the riser near the sound stage and offered up a fun, interactive acoustic set.  Smith offered “What should we play now? Maybe something we can all sing along to?  Take me back to that beautiful place in high school where I first kissed my girlfriend,” and Myers kicked into “She Talks To Angels,” followed by fun snippets of other classic hits including Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Violent Femmes, Bon Jovi and more.  Super cool stuff, that morphed perfectly into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legendary “Simple Man.”

Myers and Smith absolutely did the Southern Rock classic justice, playing the first half of the song from the floor, before returning to the stage for a rousing finish with the entire band.

Their closing track was another memorable moment. They kicked into a scorching version of “Bully,” which again sounded absolutely great.  However, what happened on the big screen behind the stage was just as riveting.  The video showed a high school aged girl sharing her moving battle against bullying.  It was absolutely captivating, and an emotional message that complemented the lyrics to the 2012 hit perfectly.  Sadly, as the song ended, we learned that the young girl, Amanda Todd committed suicide shortly afterwards. As the screen morphed into “Stay Strong,” the song came to a moving finish, closing with some more powerful pyrotechnics.

A great, passionate ending to a complete rock’n roll experience.

Rock On!
Cretin

See the setlist below

Check out our photos on the RARA’s Farm Facebook page. (Please Like Us while you’re there)

You can find our Review of Three Days Grace here.


Setlist
Enemies
Devour
Unity
Crow and the Butterfly
Save Me
I’ll Follow You
Diamond Eyes
If You Only Knew
Amaryllis
45

Encore
Sound of Madness
Second Chance
Acoustic Medley
Simple Man
Bully

 

Muse – Amway Center Show Review


Editor: This is what happens when you’re a small website on a tight budget. Denied press coverage for the Muse show, we reached out to our intrepid Canadian Beat Reporter, Luc to crash the party.  He wasn’t familiar with the band, but as you’ll see quickly figured them out.

Muse- A perfect combination of music, lights and atmosphere

Being one who had never heard of Muse, I didn’t know what to expect.  I had heard that tickets sales for the band’s  show in Orlando was low (6,000 or so), so I knew getting a ticket would not be a problem. So, I headed down to The Amway Center to check out the show.

In relation to this band, I wondered: “Was  this going to be a grunge rock band, heavy metal, easy listening or a scream fest?”  What I didn’t expect was what I experienced at the Amway arena on Monday night.  A great show that was a collection of  electric, modern and symphonic rock.  Matthew Bellamy (guitar) Chris Wolstenholme (bass) and Dominic Bellamy (drums) had a mind blowing show for me to experience.  With the combination of lasers, lights, sound and smoke, not only was the show incredible to watch, but incredible to listen also.

One of the highlights of the show was the audience participation, and how much they loved the band.  Just watching the crowd rock back and forth to the music was fun to watch.  As for the excellent music, the band reminded me a little bit of RUSH.  Very precise with all the music, sound and show. 

They opened with “Supremacy,” the latest single release off of their 2012 release The 2nd Law, one of RARA’s Farm’s Top 25 Albums of 2012, and featured a number of songs off of that excellent album, as well as a good selection of their earlier stuff from across the prior decade.  They closed their set with “Uprising,” before their encore of “Starlight” and this year’s Olympics them “Survival.”

Trust me when I say that I was pleasantly surprise and know that if Muse ever comes back, I will make sure I get my ticket.

Luc

Check out a video from the show: Time Is Running Out

Setlist
Supremacy
Map of the Problematique
Supermassive Black Hole
Resistance
Panic Station
Animals
Knights of Cydonia
Monty Jam
Explorers
Follow Me
United States of Eurasia
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Madness
Undisclosed Desires
Time Is Running Out
Stockholm Syndrome
The 2nd Law: Isolated System
Uprising

Encore:
Starlight
Survival

 

 

See Legendary Rockers, THE WHO, in Orlando

THE WHO, one of rock’s most legendary and defining bands, are headed to Orlando’s Amway Center this Saturday where they’ll perform their iconic 1973 double album Quadrophenia in its entirety, along with a selection of WHO classics. The critically acclaimed Quadrophenia marked the British band’s second rock opera and features a slew of rock classics as well as some under-appreciated and rarely played gems.

Saturday is a rare chance for Orlando rock music fans to catch a legendary act of THE WHO’s stature. This is the type of treat we were all salivating over when the Amway Center was conceived.

THE WHO have been touring on and off for more than 40 years, and still feature two of their four original band members, iconic frontmen Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. During Quadrophenia, we’ll get to hear “The Real Me,” the fantastic “%:15” and Keith Moon’s shining voval moment “Bell Boy.” It will be interesting to see if Zac Starkey, Ringo’s son and current drummer, takes over Keith’s role behind the mic on this rollicking tune. Side 4 of Quadrophenia is pure perfection: “Doctor Jimmy,” “The Rock” and “Love, Reign o’er Me.”

Jon Enthwistle and Keith Moon will always be missed, but Daltery and Townshend are joined by a very talented band, Starkey (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Simon Townshend (guitar/backing vocals), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Loren Gold (keyboards/backing vocals) and Frank Simes (musical director, keyboards/backing vocals). Hot Los Angeles newcomers Vintage Trouble will be opening the show and are worth an early arrival.

Tickets are still available, so don’t miss out on a chance to see a legendary band performing one of the greatest albums in rock history right here in our back yard.

 

Roger Waters Dazzles Orlando with The Wall

“Rock concert” isn’t the right description.  Rock show? Rock extravaganza? Rock experience? Rock spectacle? Rock theater? They’re are all more accurate descriptions of what we were able to witness from Roger Waters’ The Wall Live, Saturday night at The Amway Center.

Waters brought his show to Orlando with a two hour production that actually brought The Wall extravaganza to an even greater level.  1979’s masterpiece, The Wall was Water’s seminal moment, and he’s taken the thirty years of technology and politics that have unfolded since to ratchet up the experience for fans everywhere.

It’s hard to imagine, but the spectacle that Orlando witnesses was actually toned down from the one he performs at outdoor venues! Still, what we saw on display was a near perfect rock ‘n roll experience. The show takes one of the greatest albums ever, updates the vision and ties in three years of animation effort to deliver a fantastic sensory experience.

roger waters the wall live
Roger Waters The Wall Live in Orlando (B. Hoenig)

The show started with a wall partially built about half way around the stage.  As the band kicked into “In The Flesh?,” Waters performed from in front of the wall structure with the remainder of the band visible through the openings in the wall.  The 68 year-old Waters sounded fantastic from the start. We also witnessed the only significant pyrotechnics of the show. They were impressive and perfectly timed, culminating with a model plane screaming across the crowd and exploding into the wall.

From there, Waters and the band went through the first two sides of the album.  There was minimal straying from the script, but in those brief moments, Waters seemed to be more affable than his former prickly self, and truly appeared to be basking in the warmth of the appreciative crowd.

During “Another Brick in the Wall,” we had a few nice treats.  A local group of singers took the stage to sing the children’s chorus and theatrically battled a huge inflatable demented teacher.  We also had our first real taste for David Gilmour’s replacement, as  Dave Kilminster nailed the guitar solo. Over the course of the night, we saw three different guitarists filling Gilmour’s void and Robbie Wyckoff ably taking his vocal leads.  Not the exact same perfection we could have expected from Gilmour, but truthfully, they were pretty damn good.

Throughout the show, the wall was just as much a focal point as the performers.  It was a technological masterpiece, where each block became interactive the moment it was installed. We saw some wild effects: a surging red sea, a battalion of WWII aircraft, freakish animated characters, worms, various effects to the wall itself and so much more. Some mind-blowing stuff, and every bit of it perfectly choreographed. The Amway Center really shined, as well. The surround sound effects and sound in general were excellent, and the ability to handle all of the effects so smoothly was impressive.

Two of the earlier highlights were a stark version of “Mother” where Waters sang a duet with a video of himself from the 1980 version of the song recorded live in London, and “Goodbye Cruel World” which he sang through the only remaining hole in the wall.  After closing the song, the final block was placed, completing the wall, which then stretched three stories high and the entire width of the arena.

The political messages and imagery throughout the show were prevalent and most centered on Water’s anti-war sentiment, driven by the deaths of his father and grandfather in World Wars II and I, and mistrust of government in general.

After intermission, “Hey You” was played entirely with the band hidden behind the wall.  It sounded great, but was admittedly odd never seeing the performers.  Shortly afterwards, a large segment of the wall folded forward revealing Waters in a living room setting staring at the TV. It was a wonderful theatrical touch to “Nobody Home,” and again Waters’ voice was perfect.

The remainder of the band basically played the entire side 3 of the album behind the wall, until the crowd favorite “Comfortably Numb,” which began with Waters alone in front of the wall.  At the beginning of the “David Gilmour” vocals, a spotlight found Wyckoff atop the wall. The vocals were perfect, and just as Gilmour’s signature guitar solo started, we spotted Kilminster high atop the opposite side of the wall and he absolutely nailed it, receiving the largest ovation of the night.

Roger Waters performing The Wall Live
Roger Waters performing The Wall Live in Orlando

For the last segment of the show, a drum kit rose from beneath the stage and the band performed from in front of the wall.  “In the Flesh” was another theatrical highlight, and Waters dedicated a brilliant version of “Run Like Hell” to all of the paranoids in the crowd.  The latter cut was the highlight of the show for me with absolutely stellar vocals from Waters.

Ten minutes later, the wall was a pile of rubble as the full band came out for a whimsical close with a nice unplugged version of “Outside the Wall.”  They soaked in the two minute standing ovation from the crowd before Waters introduced the fantastic players in the band, thanked the crowd and exited stage left.

A wonderful close to rock theater perfection.

Rock On! Cretin

If you were at The Wall Live, let us know what you thought of the show below.

TSO – Wizards of Winter

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The Wizards of Winter are back on the road this winter bringing their unique show to cities across the country.  I wondered if a review of their show belonged on a website dedicated to Rock and Roll Animals.

So, let’s do multiple choice; What exactly is a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show? A.  Rock Concert; B.  Broadway Show; C.  Opera; D.  Christmas Pageant?

The answer: “E” – All of the Above.  These guys rock, but it’s so much more than your standard rock concert. The best description, with all due respect to BNL has to be a Rock Spectacle.

I’ve heard folks knock them for being overly commercialized. They might be, but they clearly care about their fans. They stick around and sign autographs after the show, they give away programs and concert T-Shirts to lucky fans in the arena, and they donate serious cash to local charities.

Then there’s the refrain “they’re not a real rock band, their members change all the time.” They do, and truth be told, they have two touring bands during their hectic Christmas season. But, the core members have been together since they formed in 1993 as a band called Savatage. The same core group writes the music, designs the shows and then divides and conquers on the stages.

“OK, fine, they’re still just a big Broadway show, with nice actors, right?” Uh, no. These guys (and gals) can rock. Sure, they all have hair the Jennifer Aniston would kill for and look like Glamour models, but they are pure musicians, too. They play with an orchestra, feature an assortment of rotating vocalists, but make no mistake, their sound is powered by the seven primary band members – and they absolutely rock.

The first half of the concert primarily revolves around the band’s trilogy of Christmas albums.  A storyteller weaves the thread tying all of the songs together, and features some of their bigger hits. The vocals are spectacular, the eight piece string section spot on, the keys magnificent, the drums and bass powerful, and the lead guitars excellent.  It’s sort of Meatloaf meets Emerson Lake and Palmer, only in the 21st Century and with an amazing stage show. “First Snow,” “An Angel Returned” and “Christmas Eve Sarajevo” were the highlights.

This was my first full blown rock show in the new Amway Center, and the sound was great.  We sat opposite the stage in the second level – a perfect spot to enjoy the full breadth of the show.  The light show is the best I’ve ever seen, the lasers are fantastic, the pyrotechnics dynamic, and the sound was perfect.  Add in a flying catwalk that raises up 40 feet over the crowd and spans the entire floor, and a telescoping 2nd stage on the floor, and you see some cutting edge stuff.

The second half of the show offered a bit more diversity from the band including a few strong songs from their Night Castles double album. This portion is a bit darker, with the selections punctuated by a heightened pyrotechnic and fireworks show.  It was quite easy to forget we were inside.  Throughout it all, the music was pristine and the band thoroughly entertaining. The best song of the night was their classic “Wizards in Winter.”

For “Queen of the Winter Night,” the female vocalist climbed onto the secondary stage at the back of the arena and blew the crowd away with her amazing vocals. The band then threw in a nice drum solo on the most tricked up drum kit I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a bunch…

As the night wound down, they kicked into a spirited dueling keyboards segment that included a cool Charlie Brown symphony, and then slid directly into one of their own classic Christmas tunes “Wish Liszt.” From there, 2 1/2 hours after we started our journey, they brought the house down with their finale, the reprise of “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo.”

All told, a family friendly rock and roll spectacle, well worth checking out.

Rock On – Cretin