July 26th, 2014
Mohegan Sun, PA
Photos by Camus
Article by SumacSin
JOHN WAITE YOU SUCK
That’s what your peers must say.
They envy you.
They loathe you.
They wish they were you.
Your performance, July 26th at the Mohegan Sun in Wilkes-Barre, PA exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. My first impression was “Oh, no, not another conference room converted to a make-shift music venue”. I am happy to report I was wrong. Somehow, the sound worked great. Add an incredibly strong trio of musicians backing you up and we’ve got all the makins’ of a great night of rock and roll.
Next came the true test. I had not seen John Waite since the first Baby’s tour in the late 70’s. I remember being very impressed with how accurately the Baby’s performed their music in a live setting many years ago. The question was what would John’s voice sound like forty years later? Could he perform? Or would this be another burnout with his best days behind him?
My answer was evident immediately when they opened with “Head First”. “Back on My Feet Again” and “Every Time I Think of You” followed. How is it possible you sound better than before? Incredibly on-key, hitting all the notes. Most seasoned performers would have to re-tool their songs to pull them off (not naming names, you know who they are). I could not detect any deterioration in your voice, I simply couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So incredible, I literally dropped my jaw. Yes, you bring that reaction to us, those who were raised on your music. We have followed you since the beginning, sometimes wondering where the hell you were. You’re back…and burnin’ it up!
Right away, we could tell your band seamlessly recreated the tunes with the same intensity as when they were first performed. “Better off Gone” led into an a cappella version of “When I See You Smile” that blew the crowd away! WOW! Outstanding! Note for note, beautifully executed.
Keri Kelli on his Les Paul played with masterful dexterity, accurately reproducing the original sound. Tim Hogan is an incredibly fluid bass player, talented beyond his years. It was an interesting twist playing his Fender in an upright position.
After closing out the set with “Missing You”, “Best That I Got” and “Change”, John and the band surprised the crowd with a PHENOMENAL rendition of Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. Again, hitting ALL THE NOTES! Plant couldn’t do that today in his wildest dreams.
The years of being a rock-& roll legend are hard work, not all glam. I kind of expected the usual star attitude. Sort of like you were doing the audience a favor by being there. Not you. You seemed genuinely happy to be playing and focused on pleasing your fans. I could feel it as could everyone else in the room.
John, your performance amazed me, but it turns out I had a much bigger surprise in store. After the show, I was able to meet you. I was truly blown away. Only minutes from playing your heart out, probably exhausted from the road, you struck up a conversation like we were old friends. You made me feel like more than a fan that waited in line to see one of her favorite artists. I felt guilty for the time we spent as dozens of others waited for their turn. You stayed and signed and talked until the last person got their wish of a picture or autograph. All with a smile, a genuine smile.
Thanks, John. Thanks for making it a great night out.
I hope you’re as happy as you look.