(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI - July 16th, 2008)
As a solo artist and as the lead singer of the Baby’s and Bad English, John Waite was a fixture of album-oriented rock radio stations during the '70s and '80s. Waite had a talent for power ballads and driving arena rock, occasionally touching on new wave-styled power pop, as well. Having hit after hit with songs such as 'Missing You,' the Baby’s' 'Isn't It Time,' and Bad English's 'When I See You Smile,' Waite fast became a radio staple.
Sure those days have gone - with regard the hits and the air play - but as a performer and a voice nothing has been lost over the years. Opening tonight for Survivor, the forecast thunderstorms and lightning having reduced the crowd down to a shameful bare minimum for this open air gig, Waite didn't miss a beat. Kicking off with 'Change' and slowly making his way to 'When I See You Smile,' his vocals are unchanged, as powerful and as passionate as ever.
Indeed, even a few mic screeches cannot put him off his stride, although if looks could kill the soundboard guy must not have made it home tonight! "We're gonna play all the songs you wanna here tonight," Waite explains. "But they will all be Rolling Stones songs," he sarcastically adds! As he progresses into 'Act Of Love' and 'In Dreams' the storm clouds gather, darkening the pavilion area sooner rather than later.
"Anyone like Bob Dylan," he asks, but getting no quick response added, "Well, I don't care 'cause we're gonna play one anyway!" A rousing 'All Along The Watchtower' is then brought to the fore, before a speech about his taste of the Grand Ole Opry concludes with 'Whenever You Come Around.' The crowd pleaser 'Missing You' is next and it's obviously a song he still loves as he broadly smiles his way through it.
He then thinks about introducing the band and just as quickly decides not to, before he says, "A lifetime ago I was in a band called the Baby’s." Removing his jacket he and the band fairly crank out 'Isn't It Time' for a welcoming audience. Admitting that the next song could "get a little ropey so hang on," 'Everytime I Think Of You' is next and is quickly followed by a prolonged, gutsy 'Midnight Rendezvous.' 'I Wanna Be Your Man,' 'Me And Baby' and a cover of Zeppelin's 'Rock And Roll' finally bring the show to a close in some style.
Review and Photos by: Russell A. Trunk