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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
House of Fire
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Billion Dollar Babies
I’ll Bite Your Face Off
Under My Wheels
Welcome To My Nightmare
Go To Hell
Feed My Framkenstein