Tag Archives: wmmo

Eddie Money Interview

Shakin’ With the Money Man Before He Rocks Orlando’s Velvet Sessions

Eddie Money is a legendary performer who ruled rock music airwaves for long stretches of the 70’s and 80’s.  Despite some well known struggles with addiction, he’s stood the test of time and is doing better than ever.  Simply put, Eddie has got his act together. He’s happy, he feels great and he still has that iconic voice. Orlando rock fans are the beneficiaries, as he’s headed to The City Beautiful for this week’s Velvet Sessions.

Continue reading Eddie Money Interview

Loverboy – Lovin’ Almost A Minute Of It

Mike Reno of Loverboy in Orlando
Mike Reno of Loverboy in Orlando

Loverboy Concert Review

Without a doubt, they’re one of Canada’s most successful rock bands. Loverboy has earned the respect of rock fans everywhere with their straight forward rock ‘n roll and passionate live shows.  But, those days are in the past, and quite frankly, our memories of the band should have been relegated to those hazy 80’s memories.

The last time I saw Loverboy live was in 1982, a cozy venue with just 100,000 of my closest friends at JFK Stadium. That day they killed it and absolutely owned the crowd with one of the first great rock sets I ever heard. Unfortunately, that memory was sullied by what I witnessed this weekend. They played a free WMMO Downtown Concert last night in Orlando, and simply put, sounded like crap.  I felt like I was fleeced on my ticket price; yeah, I know it was free, but still…

The now rotund Mike Reno seemed sincere in his appreciation for the crowd, and put forth a decent effort, but he has lost his range and just didn’t sound sharp.  And, aside from original drummer Matt Frenette, he was one of the few band members who seemed to be playing with at least a mite of heart. The band features all of the original band members except for bassist Scott Smith, but they really didn’t seem to be interacting much with each other..

They played all of their hits, and some uber-mediocre more recent offerings, but most of them fell flat. “Turn Me Loose” and “The Kid Is Hot Tonight were two of the few highlights.  The low point? There were a lot to choose from, but it was either Matt Frenette’s drum Slowlo (when the rest of the band likely went backstage to take some oxygen), or a horrible schmaltzy version of “Take Me To The Top;” which included a weak rendition of The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm,” that seemed like lame cruise ship fare. By the time they offered “It’s Over” in the middle of the set, we were all wishing it was.

I’ll need to go scour the web for some video proof of the fantastic live band they used to be, and purge the vision from last night from my mind.

Rock On!

REO Speedwagon Keeps On Rollin’ with the Changes

REO Speedwagon Concert Review

WMMO treated local rock fans to a cool free downtown concert with rock icons REO Speedwagon on a chilly night in Orlando. The band and thousands of fans braved the frigid temperatures for a hit-filled show that had everyone engaged throughout.

REO Speedwagon in Orlando at WMMO Free Concert
REO Speedwagon in Orlando at WMMO Free Concert

REO Speedwagon has been rocking stages across the country for many years, and still sound fantastic all these years later.  At one point Kevin Cronin noted that the first time they played Florida was at a drive-in theater in front of 400 people. In the ensuing four decades they’ve entertained many thousands of Floridians and continue to provide a fantastic rock experience.

Keyboardist Neal Doughty founded the band 45 years ago and has played alongside front man Kevin Cronin and bass player Bruce Hall for around 40 years.  All three still put on a great show and are joined by “newcomers” Dave Amato on lead guitar and drummer Bryan Hitt, who have “only” been touring with the band for twenty years. As you’d expect with that much experience on the stage, the band is cohesive and tight, and feed off of each other well.

Despite a cold evening, and temperatures in the forties, the band members truly seemed to be enjoying their time on stage. At one time, Cronin offered “This can’t be Florida- you guys are crazy, it’s freezing!”

The set featured all of the band’s hits from over the decades (see the setlist below) kicking off with “Don’t Let Him Go” and closing the main set with “Roll With the Changes,” where family members joined the band on stage for a fun rollicking version. At one point, Cronin mentioned this summer’s upcoming tour with Styx and Ted Nugent and shared a story about how Nugent claims to have written the best rock love song ever, “Cat Scratch Fever.” Immediately after, we heard REO’s rebuttal with Doughty’s familiar keyboard opening to “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

All of the band members had plenty of time in the spotlight throughout the night with a few nice solos from Amato and long solos from Hall and Hitt. Hall also took center stage for his turn at lead vocals on the searing rocker “Back On the Road Again.”

Highlights of the show were a rocking version of “Golden Country,” and a great approach for “Time For Me to Fly” where the song began with a subdued opening of just the guitars and keyboards, before exploding into the singalong moment of the night.

For the encore, Cronin offered “This is when we’d typically walk backstage and have you cheer for a few minutes and then we’d run back out for our encore. Since it’s so cold, how about if we just jump right into it?” With that, he slid behind the keyboards for a nice version of “Keep On Loving You” before the quintet closed with a rousing version of “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” the perfect way to wrap up an excellent night of classic rock.

As they’ve done in the past, the crew at 98.9 WMMO just put on a fantastic well run show for the rock and roll animals of Orlando.

Check out our photos on our RARA’s Farm Facebook page (and Like us while you’re there): REO Speedwagon Concert Photos

Rock On!

Don’t Let Him Go
Take It on the Run
Keep Pushin’
Golden Country
That Ain’t Love
Can’t Fight This Feeling
Like You Do
Time for Me to Fly
Bass Solo
Back on the Road Again
Drum Solo
Roll With the Changes
Keep on Loving You
Ridin’ the Storm Out

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!


Huey Lewis and the News

The first time I saw Huey Lewis and the News was at one of those all-day rock festivals in the early eighties with about 80,000 of my closest friends. Their set was relatively short and included all of their hits. It was an energetic, electric, fun time. A few years later, I saw them headlining an arena tour, pimping their newest album; this time they failed to impress. When they visited Orlando this weekend for a free concert on the streets of the City, I was curious to see what show we were going to get all these years later.

The band launched into their 90 minute set, entering to a pounding heartbeat and one of their biggest hits, “The Heart of Rock and Roll.” The band played all of their hits and truly seemed focused on reminiscing their successful career. Huey Lewis, at the age of 61, is still a strong front man. He interacted with the crowd all night, still bounced around the stage (albeit a little bit more slowly), retaining a decent semblance of his trademark gravelly voice, truly seeming to enjoy himself.

All of the expected tunes were there, and they also included a few twists. At one point all of the band members came front and center and sang a few a cappella doo wop songs. They all seemed to have a blast, yet I couldn’t help thinking of an aged local lounge act legends Mark and Lorna, as they belted out “Sixty Minute Man.” In any event, the large crowd was clearly happy.

The band also added a few other covers, including an excellent version of JJ Jackson’s classic Motown hit “But It’s Alright.” They closed the set with “Back In Time” and then returned for a two song encore that had the crowd singing and dancing in the streets, as they closed with a nicely slowed down version of “Do You Believe In Love?” and their signature “Working For A Living.” They embody the spirit of that song and absolutely worked hard to please the satisfied crowd.

Long-time News members Johnny Colla on Sax, Bill Gibson on drums, Sean Hooper on Keyboards, John Pierce on bass and Stef Burns on guitar are still touring with the band. It’s a welcome anomaly these days as most 80’s bands tour with one key member and a bunch of recent graduates from The School of Rock.

All told, not spectacular, but a fun night out with a band aiming to please. Kudos to the group at 98.9 WMMO for putting on an excellent free downtown concert!

Mike G…

B-52s Land in Orlando

The B-52’s, the legendary 80’s Cosmic Rockers, touched down in Orlando for a show in the new Amway Center this weekend. WMMO, Orlando’s Classic Rock station hosted the free show. Typically these shows are hit or miss, and it’s always a dice roll as to whether you get a band playing with passion or just collecting a paycheck. Honestly I sensed a little bit of both on this night. The current edition of the touring B-52’s includes all four original living members. Front man Fred Schneider and fellow vocalist Cindy Wilson seemed to be going through the motions most of the night. On the opposite side of the specturm, guitarist Keith Strickland and timeless singer Kate Pierson were absolutely engaged and on the top of their game.

The other three touring members are all accomplished rockers and did a fine job keeping the rhythm and keys fresh throughout the evening. Stirling Campbell (Cindy Lauper, Soul Asylum) was on drums and Paul Gordon (New Radicals, Goo Goo Dolls) manned the keyboards. Former Waitresses member Tracy Wormworth was on bass.

Pierson’s vocals were spectacular throughout the night, and she still looks and moves like she did in the eighties. Truly amazing! Strickland seemed stoked from the first song, played with energy and gave a nice heart-felt close at the end of the show. Fred was noticeable, but lethargic, and his voice is showing signs of the many tours under his belt.

The show kicked off with a decent version of “Pump,” and then immediately moved to one of their classics, “Private Idaho.” Over the course of the evening they played 17 songs in their 80 minute set and played all of their classics including “Mesopotamia,” “52 Girls,” “Roam” and “Cosmic Thing.” The band was tight, and the musicianship was excellent all night.

Fred took a brief break in the middle of the set, and Kate Pierson moved front and center, and blew the crowd away on the lead for “Roam” and “52 Girls” with Wilson.  Schneider then returned with a strong version of “Party Out of Bounds.”

They closed their set with a great sing-along version of “Love Shack” that had the crowd on its feet. The band returned for an excellent two song encore that kicked off with absolutely stunning vocals from Pierson. As the band kicked into Planet Claire, which s probably my favorite B-52’s tune, Pierson sang the entire intro perfectly on pitch. True confession – I always thought that intro was a synthesizer and not vocals. Absolutely fantastic! The song was great and raised the fever pitch of the crowd for their signature closing song, “Rock Lobster,” which brought the house down.

All-in-all, I’m glad I finally got to see these guys live, but can’t help but wonder how much better they were when they were all at their peak.

The band is touring in support of their just released live album, With the Wild Crowd! (Live In Athens, GA), that features many of the songs in the setlist noted below. Check it out on i-Tunes.

Finally, a shout out to the folks at WMMO. Due to tropical storm-like deluges, the show was moved from an outdoor venue to the modern new arena at the last minute. Kudos to WMMO and the City for pulling off that feat flawlessly.

Thanks – Mike G.

Private Idaho
Dancing Now
Give Me Back My Man
52 Girls
Party Out of Bounds
Love in the year 3000
Cosmic Thing
Hot Corner
Whammy Kiss
Love Shack
Planet Claire
Rock Lobster