Tag Archives: John Waite

WMMO Treats Orlando to 80’s Flashback

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 in Orlando
John Waite in Orlando

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 Live in Orlando
The Romantics Live in Orlando

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!

If you were at the show, let us know what you thought in the Comments section below, then please Like Us on Facebook and check out our photo galleries here:

Romantics photos  |  John Waite Photos

Rock On!
Cretin

 

John Waite Tumbles through Orlando

Shaun Hague and John Waite
Shaun Hague and John Waite. Photo: Hallie Ballie

Almost a year to the day, John Waite returned to Orlando for another strong show at The Plaza Live in Orlando.  He’s supporting his Rough and Tumble Tour with a strong band and this night, he was at his interactive best. It was clear early on that this was going to be a special night. The cozy crowd of a few hundred folks seemed to instantly put Waite into a story-telling mode and he shared quick snippets, chatting and joking with the crowd all night, seemingly having a blast throughout the sixteen song set. The sound at the cozy Plaza Live venue is just great, and was spot on for this show.

The setlist featured songs from all stages of Waite’s career as well as a few nice surprises. He kicked off the set with two rocking cuts off of the new album, “Rough and Tumble,” the title track and “Better Off Gone,” which featured a fantastic guitar solo from the uber-talented Shaun Hague. From there, Waite deftly navigated through his catalog as well as a few classics from past bands Bad English and The Baby’s.

It’s been 30 plus years since the heyday of The Baby’s, yet Waite’s under-rated voice is as good as ever, and he’s always pushing himself in new directions. For fans of that era, we got to hear “Back On My Feet Again,” featuring some phenomenal bass work from Philadelphia native and Dee Dee Ramone lookalike Tim Hogan. “Head First,” “Every Time I Think of You” and a stripped down version of “Isn’t It Time” were also on the set list. They were all decent and certainly crowd favorites, but on this night, the new stuff really shined.

“If You Ever Get Lonely” is a great love song just screaming for radio play and one of a handful on the new album co-written with Kyle Cook of Matchbox Twenty.  “Sweet Rhode Island Red” is a groovy Tina turner cover that conjures up nice memories of The Baby’s. We also had a chance to listen to two other covers, a smoking version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” where Hogan, Hague and drummer Rhondo dominated the stage and then a cool version of Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around.”

When Waite introduced the fantastic “Bluebird Cafe” he shared a poignant moment with the crowd, noting that after composing that track, it was the first time he actually considered himself to be a story-teller.

He finished the night up with four huge crowd favorites. A nice Rhondo drum solo melded into Waite’s biggest hit “Missing You,” followed with his biggest Baby’s hit “Head First” which had the crowd on its feet and singing along.

The crowd pulled Waite back out for an encore and a solo version of Bad English’s “When I See You Smile.” It was a great singalong version that again had everyone on their feet and in fine voice.  His band mates then joined him for a powerful closing version of “Every Time I Think of You,” a great end to a great show.

I have to add that Waite did something almost unheard of these days after the show.  He and Hogan stayed around on stage mixing with the fans, until they had signed articles for everybody waiting; a wonderful touch of class!

Rock On – Cretin!

(Please check out the full setlist below)

Setlist

Rough and Tumble
Better Off Gone
Back on My Feet Again
If You Ever Get Lonely
All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
Whenever  You Come Around (Vince Gill cover)
Bluebird Cafe
Isn’t It Time
Mr. Wonderful
Downtown
Imaginary Girl
Sweet Rhode Island Red
Drum Solo
Missing You
Head First

Encore
When I see You Smile
Every Time I Think of You

Central Florida June Concert Calendar

SMS Audio LLC

Another great month of diverse Rock and Roll across Central Florida, highlighted by the Drowning Men in Orlando, as well as The Cult, Against Me!, Coldplay and The Rocket Summer.

Orlando

6/4, Two Door Cinema Club – These Alt-Rockers are all over the airwaves on Sirius-XM and for good reason. Check them out at The Beacham. They’re also touring with a nice opener: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

6/5, The Drowning Men open for River City Extension at The Social. Check out these guys. We loved their last album Beheading of the Songbird, and have heard they are great live! Here’s our album review to whet your appetite.

6/5, Bon Iver at Hard Rock Live

6/6, John Waite at The Plaza Theater.  The former Baby’s front man puts on an excellent show and sounds great still today. We caught him last year. Check out our review, and don’t miss Jackie Bristow who opens, beautiful voice…

6/6, City and Colour at The Beacham

6/13, Puscifer at Hard Rock Live

6/16, BoDeans at The Plaza Theater

6/16, The Cult with Against Me! tear up HOB.  Both bands are fantastic live; required attendance for all of you Rock and Roll Animals!

6/16, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down. Both bands are playing at Universal Studios, which requires park admission. Might be worth going if you already have passes.

6/16, Roger Waters. The legendary guitarist from Pink Floyd performs The Wall. It will be a great show, but break open your piggy bank for this one.

6/18, G. Love and Special Sauce, Beachside Tavern in New Smyrna Beach

6/20, The Rocket Summer at The Social

6/28, Eric Johnson at The Plaza Theater

Cheap concert tickets

Tampa Area

6/3, Styx at Ruth Eckard Hall

6/5, City and Colour at The Ritz Ybor

6/6, Two Door Cinema Club at The Ritz Ybor with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

6/7, Bon Iver at Carol Morsoni Hall

6/8, John Waite at Capitol Theater in Clearwater with Jackie Bristow

6/11, Puscifer at Ferguson Hall

6/14, BoDeans at Jannus Live in St. Pete

6/17, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at Tropicana Field

6/19, The Rocket Summer at The State Theater in St. Pete

6/28, Coldplay in support of their fantastic Mylo Xyloto album comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum

6/29, Boston at Ruth Eckard Hall. This one intrigues as I’ve never had the chance to see “this local band out of Boston…”

6/30, Def Leppard and Poison at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This one is a guaranteed fun time.

Jacksonville

6/8, ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down at St. Augustine Amphitheater

6/27, Eric Johnson at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

6/29, Rinog Starr and His All-Star Band at St. Augustine Amphitheater. Ringo’s touring with Steve Lukather and Todd Rundgren among others.

6/30, Chevelle at Mavericks. Check out our album review here.

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.