John Waite review (Orlando, Florida June 6, 2012)

There was a serious WOW factor going on at The Plaza Live Theater on the night of June 6th, 2012. John Waite was performing with his band to a very appreciative crowd of core fans. From the first guitar notes of SWEET RHODE ISLAND RED breaking the theaters heavy vibe of anticipation, flowing into the full blown rock anthem ROUGH&TUMBLE, the mood was set between the music and the crowd!

The Plaza Live provided the perfect balance of lighting and sound mix to enhance the performances of Mr. Waite and his guitar player Shaun Hague, bass player Tim Hogan and Rhondo on drums. John Waite carried on plenty of conversation with the audience between songs.

The set included the established hits by The Baby's (BACK ON MY FEET AGAIN, ISN'T IT TIME, HEAD FIRST, and EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU), solo career songs, including the latest hit single IF YOU EVER GET LONELY, and cover songs such as ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER, with barely a pause in between. DOWNTOWN, and especially BLUEBIRD CAFE, tapped into heartfelt lyrical story lines. Stand out song of the evening goes to MR. WONDERFUL, a song of Waite's that has found it's way into the hearts of European fans. This night it was performed with utmost resoluteness. There was softness and passion in Waite's vocal during songs IMAGINARY GIRL, WHENEVER YOU COME AROUND, and MISSING YOU.

The band could only take a brief break, amid the chanting of fans to bring them back out for more; and this evening ended with two encores. First of which was a touching, yet fun sing a long to WHEN I SEE YOU SMILE and then a no holds barred version of EVERY TIME I THINK OF YOU.

This particular evenings performance rivaled the scale of intensity of a large concert, yet had the intimate atmosphere where everyone felt apart of the show. John Waite is truly an experienced artist, who keeps his performances fresh and knows how to transfix music lovers with his amazing vocals and free spirited style.

Review written by Rita Anderson
Opening number at thePlaza Live in Orlando, Florida. John Waite/vocals, guitar; Shaun Hague/guitar, backing vocals; Tim Hogan/bass; Rhondo/drums

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!


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
Imaginary Girl
Sweet Rhode Island Red
Drum Solo
Missing You
Head First

When I see You Smile
Every Time I Think of You