Tag Archives: CFE Arena

Moody Blues Enthrall Orlando Faithful

Moody Blues Orlando Show Review – CFE Arena

On a chilly Philadelphia night on November 20, 1981 my life changed.  Along with a childhood friend, I made my first trek to the aging Spectrum where we caught The Moody Blues on their Long Distance Voyager Tour – my first rock ‘n roll concert. Struck by the magnificence of live rock ‘n roll, I’ve probably seen 1,000 bands since that fateful night, as the Moody Blues sparked a flame in me that still burns strong today.

Continue reading Moody Blues Enthrall Orlando Faithful

Alice Cooper and Papa Roach Highlight Halloweenie Roast

Halloweenie Show Review – Orlando

WJRR’s annual rock ‘n roll Halloween Bash came tearing through UCF’s CFE Arena over the weekend. Simply put, it was a fantastic rock event, punctuated by a killer set from legendary performer Alice Cooper. This year’s Halloweenie Roast delivered nearly six hours of hard-driving rock, featuring a diverse line-up of talented bands.

Heaven’s Basement
Young Brits, Heaven’s Basement got the night started with a tight energetic set on what was their first ever large arena gig. The band certainly has the talent and charisma to find their way back to these larger venues in the future, with a brand of active rock that was both powerful and catchy and that put the quartet at ease on the big stage.

Pop Evil
Veteran Midwest rockers, Pop Evil, kicked it up a notch, and put on an excellent rock and roll show featuring superb vocals from Leigh Kakaty.  The Michigan native put on a nice show with an active stage presence. One fun highlight from their set was the band actually succeeding in making Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” sound like a rock song.

Bullet For My Valentine at Halloweenie Roast
Bullet For My Valentine at Halloweenie Roast

Bullet For My Valentine
Front man Matthew Tuck has lopped off his signature long dark locks and now sports short blond hair, but the distinctive, powerful voice is still there. He delivered a strong, energetic set that had the crowd on their feet throughout. Featuring selections off of their latest heavy metal release, Temper Temper, these Welsh rockers had the fervid crowd on their feet throughout their entire 45 minute set.  

Tuck’s vocals were excellent and clearly a focus for the fans, but the band’s musical chops were more impressive.  With Jason James’ driving bass and Michael Thomas’s thunderous drums providing a great backbone, the guitar work of Michael Padget stole the show.  Padget offered up the best guitar solos of the night, and the band’s loud set sounded great in the CFE Arena setting.  Check out our Facebook for more concert photos: Bullet For My Valentine Pictures

Papa Roach
These West Coast rockers were in reality probably the biggest draw for the crowd.  They’re a talented band who have had their share of huge hard rock hits over the past decade, and resultantly brought out a passionate fan base for this show.  Lead vocalist Jacoby Shaddix had the crowd in the palm of his hand, including numerous singalong moments including an impressive rendition of “Forever.”

They closed strong with killer versions of “Getting Away With Murder” and “Last Resort,” and offered up a crowd pleasing (and Cretin-pleasing) snippet of The Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop,” but the clear highlight of the show was “Scars.” The song is the band’s biggest commercial success and one that clearly has deep personal meaning for Shaddix.

During the extended version, Shaddix jumped into the crowd and proceeded to tour the entire arena. He sang the “Tear my heart open…” chorus from at least six different locations throughout the arena, surrounded by his appreciative fans.  Definitely the single most memorable performance of the entire show.

Alice Cooper at Halloweenie Roast
Alice Cooper at Halloweenie Roast

Alice Cooper
First let me state that there are a bunch of Central Florida rock fans who should be embarrassed.  As the stage was being switched over after Papa Roach’s set, five hundred or so fans headed for the exits, missing the entire set from the Godfather of Shock Rock. Cooper is a legend with genre-defining music and a memorable, theatrical stage show. To those of you who skipped out early to beat the traffic, you missed one hell of a rock ‘n roll experience.

The stage was set up perfectly for this “Nightmarish” experience, festooned with eccentric freaky looking items and bathed in fog.  Truly, the perfect setting for a Halloween show.  Cooper has surrounded himself with a talented band, a quintet of accomplished musicians who are also engaging performers. I thoroughly enjoyed the three guitarists in the line-up, and their ability to trade-off solos numerous times throughout the evening.

Each song offered during the seventy-five minute set was a mini-rock opera.  Cooper, still with his strong distinctive voice was a consummate entertainer.  He sounded great, moved all over the stage and interacted with his band mates throughout the show. Musical highlights included an early offering of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” featuring superb vocals from Cooper, as well as entertaining bass and drum solos during “Dirty Diamonds,” and dueling guitar solos before “Welcome To My Nightmare.”

Cooper and his mates sounded excellent and did a nice job offering up a visual for each of the songs. Some of the visual highlights included a ten foot tall Frankenstein stalking the stage during “Feed My Frankenstein,” electric chairs, the beheading of Alice, and his famous boa constrictor draped over Cooper’s shoulders during “Welcome To My Nightmare.” Despite the non-stop theatrics, the band sounded spot on the entire set. Check out our Facebook for more Alice Cooper Photos.

As the concert drew to a close, they ratcheted up the excitement a bit with a raucous crowd-pleasing version of his signature hit “School’s Out” that had the crowd singing along loudly, including a tasty snippet of Pinf Loyd’s classic “Another Brick In the Wall.”  After taking their bow, the band returned for an encore of the powerful rocker “Poison,” putting a fitting end to a killer night of rock.

Kudos to the folks at 101.1 WJRR. Aside from being Orlando”s only rock radio outlet, they continue to put on excellent well-run events like this Halloweenie Roast.

If you were there, let us know your thoughts, and we’d love it if you joined our community of rock music fans by Following Us on Twitter and Liking our Facebook.

Rock On!


Hello, Hurray
House of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Billion Dollar Babies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Under My Wheels
Hey Stoopid
Dirty Diamonds
Welcome To My Nightmare
Go To Hell
Feed My Framkenstein
School’s Out


Orlando October Rock Calendar

Orlando Rock Concert Calendar

Welcome to Rocktober – another nice mix of rock shows across the region this month.  Some killer hard rock featuring some huge acts at big venues.  Nine Inch Nails, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, A Day To Remember and more.  Check their shows out below…


10/01 – Sick Puppies, Redlight King and Charming Liars, House of Blues.

10/04 – Saves The Day, The Social

10/05 – City and Colour, House of Blues

10/06 – Eve 6, The Social
10/06 – Black Taxi, Will’s Pub

10/08 – Portugal The Man with Crystal Fighters, House of Blues
10/08 – Sigur Ros, CFE Arena

10/09 – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Beacham

10/10 – The English Beat, Plaza Live Orlando

10/13 – Hinder with Candlebox and Devour the Day, House of Blues
10/13 – Voodoo Glow Skulls, Will’s Pub

10/16 – Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones, Amway Center. A killer doble bill at the Big House.

10/18 – Atlas Genius, House of Blues

10/19 – Matt Nathanson, House of Blues
10/19 – They Might Be Giants, Orange County Convention Center

10/20 – Finch, The Beacham

10/24 – A Day To Remember, All Time Low, Pierce The Veil and The Wonder Years, CFE Arena. This line-up is a guaranteed night to remember.

10/25 – WJRR Halloweenie Roast: Alice Cooper, Papa Roach, Bullet For My Valentine and more, CFE Arena. Second consecutive day of great rock on the campus of UCF.

10/26 – Kix, Radisson Center (Cape Canaveral)

10/29 – Barenaked Ladies, Hard Rock Live

10/30 – John Fogerty, Hard Rock Live. He was a last-minute fill-in for Fun. at the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, and blew the crowd away.
10/30 – Story of the Year, Hawthorne heights and more, The Beacham

10/31 – Nine Inch Nails with Gary Numan, Amway Center. Just an amazing way to spend Halloween.


Cheap concert tickets



Imagine Dragons Entertain Orlando

Imagine Dragons Orlando Show Review

I remember the first time that I heard the contagious and addictive mastery of “It’s Time” thinking that this Las Vegas based quartet was a one hit wonder likely destined for a short stint on the pop charts.  It didn’t take long to prove my first suspicions to be firmly off-base.  The debut album, Night Visions was released in the Summer of 2012, and upon first listen made it quite clear that this was an excellent rock band with abundant staying power.

On Monday night, they traveled to the campus of UCF to make their first large venue appearance in the area.  Their rise to the top seems quicker than it really was, and it is well-deserved.  The band’s passionate fans witnessed an entertaining set that left everyone in the CFE Arena exhausted and energized; fans and band members, alike.

After entertaining sets from Paper Route and The Neigborhood, the crowd was amped up for the main attraction.  Subdued music cranked through the PA, belying the fervor to follow, as the crew set-up a unique stage arrangement.  One word: Drums!  There were four smaller kits strategically placed across the stage, as well as Dan Platzman’s more standard kit. It was a unique set-up, but one that added a very creative element to the show.

The band came out to an extended drum intro to one of their minor hits “Round and Round,” and it was quickly apparent this crowd was ready to party.  The majority of the attendees were likely high school age, but the crowd was quite diverse with plenty of UCF students, thirty-somethings, and older rockers (like myself) packing the house.

Dynamic front man, Dan Reynolds, was an energetic focal point throughout the show.  During Amsterdam, he paused, surveyed the crowd and offered “We are so thankful… four years of playing in small clubs and sleeping on your couches, and now playing in venues like this with crowds like this…”  Based on the show we witnessed, they are well-suited for these big stages. He had the crowd singing, waving, cheering and bouncing at will throughout the 80 minute set.

During “Hear Me,” I couldn’t help thinking back to the fantastic rock chemistry of Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen.  It’s a dark song that offered a deeper glimpse into Reynolds’ style and a great spotlight on Wayne Sermon’s under-rated guitar playing.  Sermon also tour it up with a great solo during “Cha Ching (Til We Grow Older).” Bassist Ben McKee had his turn in the spotlight when he ripped into a killer bass solo, that evolved into “Demons” later in the set. But, the music was really focused on the impressive percussion display.

Reynolds and Platzman wailed away on half a dozen of the tracks and the drum sound in the arena was damn near the best I’ve ever heard.   The highlight of their playing was a phenomenal version of “Radioactive” – at one point, we had all four core band members standing at a different drum pounding away, and the effect was stunning.

Other highlights included a nice cover medley of Cold War Kids’ Hang Me Up To Dry” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” a pairing that seemed odd at first blush but one that worked well.  During “Underdog” the stage and crowd were covered with huge confetti filled beach balls, and we heard the crowd in great voice numerous times throughout the night, including a great version of “On Top of The World.”

The highlight for me? That same first song I had experienced from the band last summer. “It’s Time” started with a newly arranged guitar opening and a stark vocal from Reynolds. Six words in, and the crowd was loudly singing along – he gave them the second verse, and they nailed it in perfect unison – it was just beautiful.  From there, the band kicked into the traditional version and the crowd exploded, ratcheting up the electricity a notch, and their voices actually became more impressive: a goose-bump moment for sure as the crowd was bathed in spotlights and lasers.

After the aforementioned version of “Radioactive,” the band exited the stage, and oddly, were followed by about 1/4 of the crowd, before they returned for one last sing-along with their encore closer “Nothing Left To Say,” an appropriate way to end a powerful rock experience.

(You can check out the full setlist below this review.)

We were not able to get a photographer to the show, so share any of your photos with us on Twitter, and if we get a good shot, we’ll add it to the review.

The opening acts on this billing were also well-worth seeing.  Paper Route, were a four piece that reminded me of a cross between Against Me! and Wolfgang. Yeah, an odd pairing, but they sounded very good.  The middle act was The Neighborhood, a quintet that just oozes cool California swagger.  They’ve got a few killer songs, and a front man who drips with charisma in Jesse Rutherford.

This was also my first trip to UCF’s CFE Arena. It’s a great, modern venue  to catch a rock show, and the sound and lighting was superb. When you add in the ease of parking and commuting to the venue, it’s even more appealing. I’ll definitely be back, and there’s a slew of good shows headed their way.  Keep an eye on this website or Follow Us on Twitter for info on the upcoming shows.

Rock On!


Round and Round
Hear Me
Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)
It’s Time
30 Lives
(bass solo intro)
Hang Me Up To Dry / Stand By Me
On Top of the World
(drum solo intro)

Nothing Left to Say