He simply tore the house down last weekend in Pittsburgh at a cool club called the Rex. Backed by an insanely tight trio, John Waite (his voice never finer or more powerful) cruised through a set of classics and new works that re-established his intent to return to rock.
We met him first as the frontman for a conflicted '80s band called the Babys. He then offered up some stunning solo work before reuniting with Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips and building a Super Group with Neil Schon (Journey, Santana) and a few others called Bad English. Then back to a solo career that initially took a turn toward adult contemporary...but has veered back to his balls-to-the-wall rock roots. But, that doesn't mean he doesn't mix it up on occassion (to which our featured song will testify).
I was still in rock radio when he burst on the scene and there was that reticence to put the Babys in rotation. Too manufactured. Too airbrushed. But there was something about that voice that was undeniable. So...we added a song or two. And the phones lit up.
His solo work was gritty at times, over polished now and then...but those amazing album tracks were the songs that went on my mix-tapes. The stuff only known now to my iPod (and those who listen to it).
For today's Music Friday, we offer this interesting two 'fer that is kinda like a Part One / Part Two:
One of his Bad English album tracks: "Ghost in Your Heart."
Yeah...I like John's voice when sad and wistful is what I want. There's nobody better.
And, if you live in or near Newton NJ tonight or Orlando tomorrow night (or Fairfield CT, Natick, MA New York City and Portland ME next week), treat yourself. We were simply blown away.
Thanks for a magical night, John. So great to have you back.