It became immediately evident at last night’s John Waite show, his second of two nights at The Iridium, that his heartfelt lyrics and sincere delivery has been underappreciated by the masses for a long time. These are the qualities that make his work stand out head and shoulders above many of his 80s and 90s contemporaries.
“Missing You,” for example, was released in the summer of 1984, the same year that saw the release of Born In The USA and Purple Rain. “Missing You” is still getting consistent airplay some thirty-five years later!
John Waite certainly has a knack for capturing everyday scenarios from real people living real lives and sincerely telling us about their stories and dreams. He effectively makes them seem to be his own story. His intimate show at The Iridium showcased this consistently throughout a set list filled with recognizable hits and forgotten deep tracks as they winded through a colorful career of great rock bands and stellar solo efforts. Fans were fist pumping and singing along throughout the show.
The show started off with two acoustic numbers, including New York City Girl, from his 2004 release the Hard Way, which ended up being one of the highlights of the set.
Waite has an obvious love for NYC and sang several songs during the show centered on his time living here in the city, including “Downtown’” and a couple of numbers from one of his best solo efforts, Temple Bar.
After the first two numbers he brought out his band who were a solid group of rock veterans held together by the excellent drumming of Alan Childs who has toured with David Bowie and Julian Lennon and appeared on a long list of classic rock and roll recordings.
The set list was filled with familiar hits like The Babys' "Midnight Rendezvous," his power ballad with Bad English, “When I See You Smile,” The Babys’ hit “Back On My Feet Again” “Change,” from his first solo effort Ignition, a cover of Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around” and, of course, the FM Radio favorite “Missing You.”
It was a great overall set of songs that kept the crowd enthused and engaged the entire show. For me, I was reminded of many that haven’t gotten any spins on my turntable for far too long! Most of all, it gave me a new perspective on John Waite’s material and a new appreciation for his style and approach.
And that’s the great thing about The Iridium. The intimate atmosphere lets great artists like John Waite connect and reconnect to an audience that would never be able to walk away with the same perception of their work from an auditorium or especially an arena show, no matter how familiar or not they might be with the material. The audience can hear and appreciate every note they play and sing!