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Concert Review & Photos - John Waite

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If you are a fan of John Waite, it comes as no surprise that he is still on top of his game as a musician and performer.  For others who may just getting to know him, there is so much more to learn about a man who has touched so many and given so much over an incredible 35+ year career.  From John’s early days with The Babys to present, he has continued to create a distinctive brand of “no-nonsense” rock and roll that engages the mind and inspires his followers all around the world.  A consummate story teller, John Waite has a unique way of enlightening his audience through song – an art that is very rare (and underappreciated) in this day and age.  On May 22nd, John Waite had the pleasure of bringing his remarkable stories to life for a cherished group of his fans at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, TX.   John Waite’s performance would be latest in a critically acclaimed concert series hosted at the Tobin Center called Studio Sessions.

For those that have not attended a Studio Session at the Tobin Center, it’s important to understand why performances in the 295 seat Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater are different than your typical everyday concert.  As Kelley Kendall, Press and Promotions Coordinator for the Tobin Center, puts it, “Each one-of-a-kind Session is a genuine casual and intimate experience where artists share and interact with their audience.  With the Studio Theater’s fantastic acoustics, the audience hears their favorite artists in pure sound, where moments of spoken word and the accompanying melody reach out with the closeness of friendship.”  That being said, it would only be fitting to have the most amazing performers grace such a special stage.  John Waite is just such a performer and most certainly a perfect match for the Studio Sessions main stage.

Prior to the show getting underway, John Waite took some time to meet his most loyal fans in a special VIP Meet and Greet.   What was different about this (vs. other commercial VIP events) was that he actually took time to interact with each attendee personally.  Signing autographs, sharing stories, and posing for pictures were the norm for this session.  Fans were never rushed, and John Waite seemed truly humbled by the outpouring of love and support received from his fans during the event.   It was refreshing to see John take this unique approach with his fans, and hope to see other artists following suit as it really builds a loyalty with followers that is second to none.

Upon conclusion of the Meet and Greet, opener Raquel Aurilia quickly took the stage and welcomed a near capacity crowd to the Tobin Theater.  Supporting her latest album, Long Way Home, Raquel immediately captivated the room with a powerful vocal performance that took many concert goers by surprise.  Songs like Shattered and Feels Like were simply flawless, and left many in attendance wanting more from this New Mexico native.  Accompanying Raquel Aurilia on tour was guitarist Damian Martin.  His precision guitar work combined with solid background vocals made Raquel Aurilia’s performance all the more special.  If you ever get a chance to see Raquel Aurilia live on stage (on the current John Waite’s tour or otherwise), do so.  You will not be disappointed!

Following a brief intermission, it was finally time for the evenings Studio Session headliner John Waite to take the stage.  As lights dimmed, the near-capacity crowd rose to their feet and greeted John’s all-acoustic band (including Mark Ricciardi on Guitar & Tim Hogan on Bass) and with a standing ovation.  After a few moments of interactive dialogue with the crowd, John Waite launched into his 12 song set supporting his Wooden Heart Acoustic Tour.  Crowd favorites such as Change, Missing You, and When I See You Smile were vocally spot-on and sounded amazing in a venue with such amazing sound quality.  In addition to the songs you would expect to here at a John Waite show, newer ones such as Bluebird Café, Magic Camera, and In Dreams were also played and seamlessly fit into the all acoustic set. No doubt that these will all be classics soon.  The show wrapped up with the 1979 Baby’s classic, Head First.  This was the perfect song to end the set with and again brought the crowd to their feet one final time that evening.

After the show, many enthusiastic fans noted that John Waite’s performance at The Tobin was one of the best they had ever seen.  Some felt this was due in part to this being an all-acoustic show,  while others believed that the intimate format of Studio Sessions allowed John Waite to bring his amazing stories to life in a way that could not be done in a normal concert setting.  Regardless of the reason, John Waite’s performance on Sunday night was one for the ages. What an amazing night of story and song from one of music’s legendary rock and roll icons, John Waite.  

John Waite continues his 2016 trek across America supporting The Wooden Heart Tour.  Tickets and VIP Packages can be purchased HERE.

Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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