By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: The Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida–June 1, 2016
After a rainy Memorial Weekend and a week long of hot, muggy, weather, Clearwater, Florida was given a reprieve the evening of June 1st. It was sunny and I was so looking forward to catching John Waite’s Wooden Heart Storyteller Tour at The Capitol Theatre. From the title of the tour, I expected acoustic versions of hits from his solo career, The Babys, and Bad English.
The concert at The Cap was sold-out! Actually, John Waite has a cult following in the area, having played frequently for Blast Friday and other Ruth Eckerd Hall sponsored events.
Lots of concert-goers wearing flip flops and shorts (people, this was a concert and not the beach) shuffled into the lobby, and many were checking out the new Wooden Heart Acoustic Anthology-Volume 2 CD. The CD features “stripped down” versions of many of his classic hits.
With the acoustic theme in mind, the evening began with a local favorite The Greg Billings/Geoff Abraham Duo. Actually, the duo actually had “help from some friends” as George Harris and Kyle Ashley. The set was very enjoyable, especially the new songs sung by Geoff Abraham. Fun and catchy!
Finally, the man of the evening, John Waite, came out on stage dressed in a black suite and shirt, carrying an acoustic Martin guitar. He was supported by Tim Hogan (bass), Rhondo (drums), and Mark Ricciardi (guitar), in what proved to be an evening of solid songs and thoughtful storytelling between numbers like “Downtown” (Waite used to walk in New York City, and he autobiographically described his experience), “Bluebird Café”, and the iconic “Missing You.” Waite paid homage to Dylan singing “All Along the Watchtower” and played hits from The Babys “Midnight Rendezvous,” “Back On My Feet Again”, and “Every Time I Think of You” (a personal favorite). I was hoping to hear “Isn’t It Time” but that was missing in the mix. Another crowd favorite (there were many standing ovations after songs) was Bad English’s “Best of What I Got”.
The evening ended with a rocking encore as Waite paid homage to Led Zeppelin by singing “Whole Lotta’ Love”—and that is what he gave to the audience that evening! I will definitely see him next time he tours!