When I heard JOHN WAITE was on tour and making a stop in McKinney (thanks to Wishon Promotions for booking top notch talent) I was ecstatic and eager to order tickets. A mega fan for decades I’ve been consumed with excitement for the past several weeks of this long awaited night that I anticipated would be magical and indeed it was!
The bonafide rock legend, singer, songwriter and guitarist serenaded the sold out crowd at The Sanctuary Music and Events located in McKinney, TX for a fabulous spellbinding night of nostalgic music at its finest. He was promoting his most recently released album in 2017 titled Wooden Heart Acoustic Anthology Volume 2. He was also showcasing popular classic rock hits by two highly successful bands that catapulted him to rock-n-roll superstardom: THE BABYS (1976-1981) and later BAD ENGLISH (1987-1991).
The Sanctuary Music and Events is an ultra cool one of a kind concert hall with a feeling of genuine warmth and a groovy spiritualistic vibe exemplifying their “love life” motto. The sound system is beyond superior which I expected due to the owners Maylee Thomas Fuller and husband George Fuller (also the Mayor of McKinney) both being prominent musicians in Dallas with their band of 25+ years Maylee Thomas Band. The midlife generational fandom audience was a mixture of cozied up couples on date night, as well as supporters and musicians of the DFW local music scene all sharing a mutual bond, a commonality…
The highly sophisticated Waite, wearing a black suit, graced the stage to an intimate gathering of 300 music lovers with his three piece band including Mark Ricciardi (lead guitar, backup vocals) Tim Hogan (bass) and Rhondo (drums, backing vocals). Kicking it into high gear going way back, Waite opened the show strumming his acoustic guitar the first two songs and singing a string of three major hits in “Midnight Rendezvous”, “When I See You Smile”, and “Back On My Feet Again”. Astonishingly, the man is still a powerhouse possessing a pristine voice as instantly recognizable today as it was from the late 70’s early 80’s and the audience concurred as they cheered him on with enthusiasm.
He’s the epitome of someone beyond talented, he’s gifted and I would unequivocally categorize him as an upper echelon lead vocalist within the music industry. He captured the crowd’s undivided attention from the onset. His high spirited energy is spontaneous, his stamina undeniable and he still has an alluring swagger resulting in great stage presence. A prolific composer with an expansive discography he performed from a setlist of 13 songs carefully selected from a myriad of albums including older ones like Headfirst, The Babys–Anthology, Ignition, No Brakes, and Bad English, as well as more recent discs Figure In a Landscape (2001) and In Real Time (2014).This is merely half his albums recorded to date.
He doled out timeless love ballads throughout the evening from his four-decades career, an era that made the “Bad English Baby” unforgettably famous. His music is addictive and probably a lot cheaper than therapy. He continued with a VINCE GILL cover “Whenever You Come Around” and followed with only Waite and Ricciardi (lead guitarist) on stage as they performed three acoustic tunes including an emotional version of another smash hit “Missing You” where more than likely many were reminiscing over long lost loves from what seemed a lifetime ago.
Waite said, “On open mic night I tried to get discovered in Nashville Tennessee. I met a girl there about 15 years ago and she inspired this song. I don’t know what happened to her, but I hope she’s okay” as he proceeded to sing “Bluebird Cafe”. Afterwards he stated “I had a top 40 hit with this song and we’re going to play it for you tonight…unplugged” and then did “If You Ever Get Lonely”. The audience applauded, hollered and whistled after every single song. This man is so passionate about performing he gave a personal appearance and mini concert with his full band at Good Records in Dallas earlier in the day.
JOHN WAITE has aged to sheer perfection physically, and especially vocally. He’s still got it going on and lyrically he’s laid down creative groundwork for some of the best musical compositions ever! He continues to captivate and tug on the heartstrings of his fans. He pumped out huge hits with BAD ENGLISH’S “Best Of What I Got” and “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan as well as “In Dreams”, his song from the True Romance soundtrack.
Before singing “Mr. Wonderful” he stated “I can’t believe I’m still alive and digging it!” And I was digging it too! His band was absolutely awesome, polished, and together had great chemistry. Following a drum solo they played one of my favorite songs, hit single “Change” and ended the night with a killer version of LED ZEPPELIN’S“Whole Lotta Love”. Thanks for an amazing night of music JOHN WAITE…every time I think of you, it ALWAYS turns out good!
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: JANICE SPICER