Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, and Thundercat at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on 9/15/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Bailey Guinigundo

In 2017, I was able to photograph the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Amway Center in Orlando for another magazine I was writing for at the time. It was a flawless experience, and I walked away with some of my personal favorite concert shots I have ever captured. Knowing that former guitarist John Frusciante – who was absent from the lineup at said show five years ago – was back in the fold, had me even more excited to see the band again.

But a series of unfortunate personal events overshadowed the band’s recent Orlando show at Camping World Stadium this past Thursday, September 15. Beginning with…the photo pass. While I thought I had firmly secured one to shoot the band at least a good month before the show, I came to find out shortly prior that my request was never actually submitted. Strike one.

Then, the actual day of the show, while en route to it (in the pouring rain nonetheless) with the family, our vehicle decided to start overheating and eventually stall out on us completely. That was strike number two.

And lastly, even after having a friend of the family give us a ride and arranging towing all the same, we still had to wait nearly two hours in the car after arriving to the stadium thanks to the thunderstorms that continued to rage and delay the outdoor show from starting on time. That was absolutely strike number three of the night, and might have been enough to turn some people around.

Once we finally arrived and got to our seats (soaked mind you), everything we had endured up to that point slowly became worth it. Opening the stage was bass master Stephen “Thundercat” Brunner, who simply goes by the moniker Thundercat these days. I was lucky enough to not only see him perform on stage with Suicidal Tendencies in 2010 and even meet him afterwards (see attached photo below). Gracing the stage with a huge cat head on the stage behind him, Brunner went through his best licks possible with a quickness, playing a handful of songs and solos before exiting.

A much younger Jesse Striewski (left) with then-Suicidal Tendencies bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Brunner at the former Club Firestone in Orlando, FL on 11/10/10 (Photo by Pamela Bendezu).

Early 2000’s brooding rockers The Strokes followed, and were another act on the bill I was looking forward to seeing (in this case for the first time). But their sped-up, six song set didn’t leave a lot to the imagination, and it just felt as though the band was being rushed off stage as they went through tracks like “The Modern Age,” “Bad Decisions,” “Under Control,” “Juicebox,” “The Adults Are Talking,” and of course their most popular hit to date, “Last Nite.”

And finally, the Chili Peppers took stage well after the ten o’clock hour, and played what felt like an exhausting-ly long set that lasted well over an hour and a half, starting with an onstage jam that just included Frusciante, bassist Flea, and drummer Chad Smith, before frontman Anthony Kiedis joined the rest of the guys for a hyped up rendition of “Around the World.”

The group wasted no time giving the audience what they came for, playing an onslaught of hits both new and old from then on out in the form of “Dani California,” “Scar Tissue,” “Aquatic Mouth Dance,” “Snow ((Hey Oh))” and “These Are the Ways.”

One of my personal favorite moments came when they slowed things down and the rest of the guys stepped aside to allow Frusciante a moment to perform “I Remember You” by the Ramones with nothing more than his voice and guitar. It was a touching moment and fitting tribute to the band’s late guitarist Johnny Ramone, who had passed away exactly eighteen years prior on September 15, 2004.

While this seemed to confuse a good portion of the crowd, I enjoyed it much more than the following forgettable new track from the band, “Wet Sand.” But the guys quickly got back on track, playing a couple of numbers absent from their set the last time I saw them; “Soul to Squeeze” from 1993’s Coneheads film and soundtrack, and “Me and My Friends” going all the way back to 1987’s The Uplift Mofo Party Plan album (as far as they reached in their early repertoire).

By the time the band reached tracks like “Throw Away Your Television,” “Tell Me Baby,” “The Heavy Wing,” “Black Summer,” “Californication,” and “Give it Away,” (with another solo from Flea thrown in there for good measure) I had heard more than enough Chili Peppers music live to honestly last a lifetime. But we stuck with it until the band reappeared for an encore of “By the Way,” a decent enough track, but not really what comes to mind when I think of a “closer.”

Despite all of the setbacks and issues we encountered on the way, I’d say the fact we were able to still even make it was a success, and I know my teenaged son was thrilled to not only see them for the first time, but also get his first official tour shirt that night. And special thanks to local photographer Bailey Guinigundo, whose live shots made this article so much more special than it possibly could have been without them. And to our friend Kurt for coming to the rescue with a ride (without that none of it could have been possible). Thanks again guys!

Scorpions at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL on 9/14/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

Last night, the Rewind It Magazine family took an unexpected road trip to catch classic rockers the Scorpions perform at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. But not even traffic delays and copious amounts of of rain could dampen the mood when we arrived (fashionably) late to the event.

To see such legends as vocalist Klaus Meine and guitarist/band founder Rudolf Schenker, not to mention former Motorhead/King Diamond drummer Mikkey Dee (I always felt somewhat cheated when he was actually absent the one and only time I saw Motorhead back in 2009, although former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum in his place was was a more than worthy fill-in) was worth every bit of stress it took to get there.

Although Whitesnake were originally on the tour with them, they unfortunately had to opt out due to frontman David Coverdale’s ongoing health issues. As disappointing as this may be, the all-female group Thundermother were still pegged as the openers. But, due to said road and weather conditions, we missed their set completely too (though we were able to finally see the girls doing an autograph signing session at the end of the night).

In fact, The Scorpions were actually already in the middle of their second song, “Make It Real” (“Gas in the Tank” served as the opener) by the time we even arrived. The laid back vibes of “The Zoo” and the instrumental “Coast to Coast” followed before a couple more-than admirable new tracks in the form of “Seventh Sun” and “Peacemaker.”

The band took things back to the ’80s for a bit with “Bad Boys Running Wild” and “Send me an Angel,” throwing in another instrumental, “Delicate Dance,” in between. This was followed up by the massive 1990 power ballad “Wind of Change,” which was no doubt a collective emotional moment for everyone in attendance last night.

“Tease Me Please Me” and the title track to their latest album, “Rock Believer” proceeded before a bass/drum solo between Dee and bassist Pawel Maciwoda commenced. After which, the guys started breaking out the big guns in the form of “Blackout” and “Big City Nights.” A short reprieve brought the band back for an encore of “No One Like You,” and finally the massive hit anthem “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” which sent everyone there home breathless.

There’s no denying the sheer rock greatness that graced the stage in Tampa last night, and the memory of it all will no doubt last a lifetime.

Roger Waters at Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 8/25/22 By Shawn McKee

Roger Waters finally graced Orlando as part of his This Is Not a Drill North American tour. The three-hour, visually stunning spectacle covered his legendary career as co-founder, bassist, co-lead vocalist, and principal songwriter for Pink Floyd and the solo work that followed his departure from the band in the early ‘80s.

The tour, originally set for July of 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s clear, however, that after experiencing Waters “in the flesh” at the Amway Center, it was well worth the wait. As a Pink Floyd fan from youth, who still considers them my all-time favorite band, I’m also a fan of Waters’s solo work. I even love Radio K.A.OS., the 1987 album later disparaged by Waters himself. Understandably, he was going through a difficult time back then.

The tensions between Waters and his former bandmates ultimately erupted after the resounding success of their 1979 rock opera masterpiece, The Wall. As a cohesive band, they produced one last album, The Final Cut (1983) before Waters’s bitter exit and lengthy court battles that followed. Egos clashed as he tried to single-handedly lay claim to the Pink Floyd name and material. It was a fight he eventually lost.

Guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour, keyboardist Richard Wright, and drummer Nick Mason retained the name, and Waters ventured into solo territory, competing against the very band he launched to stardom with The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973. Thus ended the Waters era of Pink Floyd.

Gilmour assumed front man duties, with the release of A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987 and a world tour that completely “eclipsed” Waters’s own earnest solo endeavors. The times, however, have somewhat changed. Following the passing of Richard Wright in 2008, all hopes of another Pink Floyd album after The Division Bell (1994) diminished. Gilmour rightfully stated that, “It would be wrong to continue as Pink Floyd without him.”

In their absence, Waters has since ironically done his part in bringing Floyd’s music to the fans throughout the past twenty years. This Is Not a Drill follows his Us + Them tour (2107-2018) that followed The Wall Live (2010-2013). I was fortunate enough to see him perform The Wall in Tampa, Florida in 2010. Experiencing the album in its theatric entirety still ranks as one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.

The thrill of seeing Waters again (for possibly the last time) was every bit as exciting as attending the Paul McCartney concert months prior in Orlando. In both cases, we’re increasingly aware of their inevitable retirements on the horizon. The vitality of rock and roll defies expectations, when two men close to (or in) their eighties can embark on such sweeping tours.

I’ve heard enough live Waters albums to know how he performs the Floyd material without the soulful voice and guitar playing of Glimour and the equally strong backing of Wright and Mason. Waters without Floyd is the same as Floyd without Waters. They’ve both become their own thing equal to the sum of their parts. With This Is Not a Drill, I can confidently say that Waters delivered in every way.

From the center of the stadium, massive LED screens hung above the cross shaped stage that extended in all four directions. The show started promptly at 8:30 pm in darkness as text scrolled across each lit screen accompanied by a British announcer, instructing patrons to turn off their cell phones and “fuck off to the bar,” if they like Pink Floyd’s music but don’t care for Waters’s politics. From the start, I expected a politically charged show evident in Waters’ own poignant songwriting for decades past. He’s an artist of conviction, consistently political throughout most of his career. Alas, I was there for the music, while also aware how seriously Waters takes “the message.”

The show started with a slow, moody version of “Comfortably Numb,” accompanied by dystopian visuals on the screens. Waters and his sizeable touring band remained unseen during its lengthy duration. An abundance of flashy, colorful lights followed as Waters ripped into the precursor song, “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” accompanied by its famous helicopter droning and exhilarating crescendo of “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2.” Waters then hammered through “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3” as the audience erupted in jubilation.

Things shifted down a notch with “The Powers That Be” from Radio K.A.O.S and “The Bravery of Being Out of Range” from Amused to Death (1992). I was ecstatic to hear two songs from his solo albums, but the energy didn’t seem as infectious upon the crowd. Nonetheless, “The Powers That Be,” featured fantastic visuals of fascistic animated foot soldiers marching through town, while “Being Out of Range” gave us the first moments of Waters “stripped down” on the screen in black and white, strumming his acoustic guitar and singing.

To capture an “intimate moment” in a stadium show is quite the feat. But Waters pulled off just that with what appeared to be completely new material for an endearing, personable segue entitled “The Bar.” Waters, seated at a grand piano, played and sang beautifully, while calling for unity of all peoples from all cultures and stripes.

It was a touching moment from an otherwise intentionally divisive artist. His band belted out another Floyd rock anthem and radio mainstay “Have a Cigar” from the iconic Wish You Were Here 1975 album. This was then followed by none other than “Wish You Were Here,” which predictably brought the place down.

Around this point, I felt most excited, because I had no idea what would follow. Anything could happen. Scrolling text and narration then discussed the early days of Floyd and its founder Syd Barrett, whose mental illness and drug use during the ’60s propelled a swift exit from the band after their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Barrett led a private, solitary life that became the stuff of folklore among Floyd fans before he passed away in 2006. Many Pink Floyd albums have been dedicated to or written about Barrett, and to continue to honor his legacy in such a way was particularly touching. Waters continued music from Wish You Were Here with the second half of Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX), capturing the raw power and energy of the song from beginning to end.

A giant, remote-controlled inflatable sheep then floated around the stadium to introduce a powerhouse rendition of “Sheep” from the 1977 album Animals, a personal highlight for me. A brief intermission followed, bridging the gap between the two sets, and the best was yet to come.

After intermission, the stage was draped with x-shaped hammers from above, signifying a return to The Wall. We were treated to the closing anthems, “In the Flesh” and “Run Like Hell,” featuring Waters in full, black leather fascist gear, mimicking moments where he gunned down the audience with a fake, illuminated machine gun.

Giant inflatable pigs, flashing lights, and the barrage of vivid imagery against a red visage became a delightful assault on the senses. Two songs followed from Waters’s majestic Is This the Life We Really Want? (2017). The Nigel Godrich-produced album is, in my opinion, his best solo work, and it virtually came out of nowhere, which made it uniquely special hearing live.

Waters then delved into his greatest commercial triumph with a series of songs from The Dark Side on The Moon. “Money,” “Us and Them,” “Any Colour You Like,” “Brain Damage,” and “Eclipse” thundered through the stadium in consecutive order with captivating visuals and light show motifs. A string of laser triangles filled the center stage with a stunning backdrop of faces, sunsets, and fire.

An encore followed with the apocalyptic “Two Suns in the Sunset” from The Final Cut, more material from “The Bar,” and the appropriate closer “Outside the Wall,” before sending us home, wanting more. Waters’s fantastic visuals, touching tribute to his former band, and love for performing was on full display. As the tour title suggests, his concert presented an alarming view of current times, while keeping the music alive.

I looked past the ego, sanctimony, and destructiveness of an artist who once tried to end Pink Floyd after “deciding” they had reached their peak and witnessed the sheer talent and passion of an artist who believes in the power of it all. Being active is perhaps the greatest gift Waters can offer. I hope he was as thrilled to host Orlando as we were to have him.

Cinderella’s Tom Keifer and Faster Pussycat at Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach, FL on 7/23/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

Volusia County was pulsating with the sounds of boisterous ’80s hard rock this past Saturday, July 23, as the criminally underrated Cinderella frontman Tom Keifer and his band blistered through the hot and humid night with fellow ’80s rockers Faster Pussycat in direct support (L.A. Guns were originally scheduled to perform in between the two acts, but unfortunately cancelled at the eleventh hour).

Faster Pussycat have always been one of those bands from back in the day that I tend to forget about sometimes (often times due to inactivity), but am always quickly reminded by how fun they truly are. Opening with “Jack the Bastard,” Taime Downe and company (it should also be noted that although L.A. Guns were not able to play, Faster Pussycat bassist Danny Nordahl and drummer Chad Stewart previously both served some time with them between 2007-2012) quickly got bodies moving.

More heavy-hitting cuts followed, including “Where There’s a Whip, There’s a Way,” “Cathouse,” “Slip of the Tongue,” “You’re So Vain,” “Ain’t No Way Around It,” “Number 1 With a Bullet,” and “Sex Drugs & Rock-n-Roll” before they finally slowed things down a bit to play their hit 1989 power ballad, “House of Pain.” The guys then brought out guitarist for Tom Keifer’s band Tony Higbee to finish off their set with “Don’t Change That Song” and of course their signature rowdy anthem, “Bathroom Wall.”

Faster Pussycat vocalist Taime Downe with Tom Keifer Band guitarist Tony Higbee performing at Destination Daytona on 7-23-22.

Finally, the legendary Tom Keifer took the stage, armed with a stellar band of musicians, and that unmistakable voice, kicking things off with the solo track “Touching the Divine,” before treating fans with some favorite Cinderella tracks in the form of “Night Songs” and “Coming Home.” “It’s Not Enough” and “Somebody Save Me” followed before Tom and company slowed things down a bit for the piano-driven title track of his latest album, “Rise.”

Another Cinderella classic in the form of “Nobody’s Fool” got the crowd back on their feet again, before one last solo tack, “Solid Ground,” paved the way for a slew of Cinderella staples, including “Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin’ Apart at the Seams,” “The Last Mile,” “Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone),” “Shake Me,” and “Shelter Me.”

The band took a brief reprieve before taking to the stage once again for an encore that included dueling guitar solos between Keifer and Higbee, then finally closing out the night with “Gypsy Road,” leaving the audience dripping with sweat, yet fully content. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Keifer often does not always receive the recognition he truly deserves, and any list of greatest hard rock frontmen should include him right alongside the best of them. At least those of us catching him on this tour right now understand the true depths of his greatness.

Guitarist Tony Higbee (left) and Tom Keifer performing at Destination Daytona on 7-23-22.

Nova Rex at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 7/1/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

Around this same time last year, local rockers Nova Rex brought the thunder to the Amway Center for pre-game and halftime sets during an Orlando Predators home game. This past Friday, July 1, the band rocked the house again, this time with The Babys singer John Bisha behind the mic.

I’ve caught the band live several times over the years, but this was my first time seeing them with Bisha on vocals. The band – which is still rounded out by founder/bassist Kenny Wilkerson, Britny Fox guitarist Greg Polcari, and drummer Shawn Lowery – seemed as rejuvenated as ever on this particular night.

As usual, Rewind It Magazine arrived fashionably late thanks to I4 traffic and rain hit along the way. So by the time we did make it, the band was already well into their pre-game set with the hard-hitting “Break Away.” Shortly after the guys launched into the ’80s-esque power ballad “Alone Tonight,” one of my personal favorites of theirs that I don’t recall ever hearing them perform live any of the prior times I saw them. They rounded out their first set with the anthem “Turn it up Loud” before turning things over to the Orlando Predators to host the Jacksonville Sharks in their final home game of the season.

Rewind It photographer Brooke Striewski with the Prowlers dancers prior to the Orlando Predators/Jacksonville Sharks game on 7/1/22.

Things did not look too bad for the Preds as they went into halftime down by just two points 21-19, and Nova Rex took over the stage once again. This time they brought the big guns, launching into “Bring the House Down Tonight” and new track “Time Is Up For You,” complete with plenty of bangs and pyro explosions finish the night.

The Predators did not fare as well however, ultimately losing to the Sharks 37-34. But the action was far from over, as former F.L.Y. (Fast Life Yungstaz) singer Vee Fly, who now goes by 4MULA9, ended the night with some hip hop, including his most well known hit, “Swag Surfin’.” It was a fitting end to an already eventful night, one that will surely be remembered for a long time to come.

Vee Fly (a.k.a. 4MULA9) performing after the game on Friday night.

Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on 6/19/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

It’s taken three attempts and nearly two years, but after numerous false starts, the massive Stadium Tour featuring Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison, and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts finally rolled through Orlando via Camping World Stadium this past Sunday, June 19. And as Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliot noted at one point, “Third time’s the charm.”

Rewind It Magazine arrived fashionably late for the event, as Joan Jett was well into the hit “Cherry Bomb” from her Runaways days. The last time I saw Jett perform was actually at the 2006 Warped Tour, and not only had the Blackhearts lineup changed since then (most notably former Billy Idol drummer Thommy Price had been replaced by Bouncing Souls drummer Michael McDermott), but so had her set list, which was apparent when she went into “Light of Day” next from the 1987 film of the same name she co-starred in with Michael J. Fox.

More covers and originals like “Everyday People,” “You Drive Me Wild” (another early Runaways track), “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)”, “Fake Friends,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” followed before finally closing things out on a high note with “Bad Reputation,” which some may recall served as the theme song to the late-’90s teen show Freaks and Geeks.

Poison were up next, and were the one and only act on the bill I had never seen prior, although frontman Bret Michaels’ solo shows have played a pivotal roll in the Rewind It family over the years (it was the first concert my wife/photographer Brooke and I ever attended together in 2013 while we were still dating, and a few years later in 2018 we covered one of his Downtown Concert series shows for Rewind It, which you can still read on here).

Bret was on fire on this night, with guitarist C.C. Deville, bassist Bobby Dall, and drummer Rikki Rocket behind him as they launched into “Look What the Cat Dragged In.” “Ride the Wind,” “Talk Dirty to Me,” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” lead to a guitar solo from Deville, which found him briefly touching on Van Halen’s “Eruption” as a tribute to late guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

More hits including “Fallen Angel,” “Unskinny Bop,” and the epic power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” were up next before the guys ended it with the ultimate ’80s party anthem, “Nothin’ But a Good Time” (at this point, the only possible way for them to end a set), priming the crowd just right for the rest yet to come.

The first couple of times I saw Motley Crue live (in 2005 and 2012, respectively) were each mind-blowing experiences, and I never tire of seeing one of my all time bass idols – the one and only Nikki Sixx, of course – on stage. Ironically though, I always seem to miss the beginning of their sets. But this time I made sure to be there for the entire thing, as the band ripped through classics like “Wild Side,” “Shout at the Devil,” and “Too Fast For Love” right off the bat.

After the first trio of tracks however, drummer Tommy Lee vacated the stage due to his well-publicized rib injury (no rollercoaster drumsets this time around!), making way for Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath drummer Tommy Clufetos, who quickly picked up the pace on “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),” “Saints of Los Angeles,” “Live Wire,” “Looks That Kill,” and only their fourth performance ever of the 2020 track “The Dirt” from the film of the same name (and it definitely showed – frontman Vince Neil’s voice wavered a time or two while trying to reach some notes on it).

The guys then launched into a number of their most well-known covers, including “Rock N’ Roll Part II,” “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” “White Punks on Dope,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Anarchy in the U.K.,” before going through some more original classics in the form of “Dr. Feelgood,” “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S),” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.” Tommy Lee then returned to the stage once more and fans turned on their cell phone lights for the massive power ballad “Home Sweet Home,” before they finally closed things out for the night with “Kickstart my Heart.”

And finally, Def Leppard came on stage…and initially sucked the life out of the room. When I first saw them back in 2003, they opened with a couple of early ’80s tracks in the form of “Let it Go” and “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop).” There were no such classics like those to be found anywhere in their set this time around, instead opting to start off with a couple newer numbers (which I get they need to promote) in the form of “Take What You Want” and the uber-lame “Fire it Up,” both bad choices in my opinion.

By track number three, the band finally started to treat the crowd with what they really came for, the “classics.” “Animal,” “Foolin’ (tragically one of the very few songs performed from 1983’s Pyromania album, my personal favorite of the band’s along with the two before it), and “Armageddon It.” Another new track, “Kick,” was thrown in before more Hysteria-era tracks “Love Bites” and “Excitable.”

After which, the band stripped things down and went acoustic for a bit, with frontman Joe Elliot performing “This Guitar” solo before being joined by the rest of the guys again on “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” and “Two Steps Behind.” “Rocket,” “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak,” and “Switch 625,” which featured a solo from drummer Rick Allen, got things back on track.

Finally, the band threw it all out there, unleashing “Hysteria,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” “Rock of Ages,” and “Photograph” on the now-exhausted crowd (yours truly included).

I’ve since been asked who the best band of the evening was, and it’s far from easy to answer. Def Leppard were probably the strongest as far as overall sound is concerned, although their set list was merely “meh” in comparison to the last time I saw them, as previously noted. But I’d have to say Motley Crue were definitely the most exciting to watch as always, with Poison coming in a close second. And I’m pretty sure nearly anyone who was in attendance on Sunday night will agree they indeed got enough bang for their buck.

Simple Plan at Epcot’s Garden Rocks on 6/4/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I can’t say that pop punkers Simple Plan have ever been at the top of my list of bands to see – and I’m pretty sure I actually have seen them at at least one of the many Warped Tours I made my way to in the early 2000’s (though can’t say I even remember). But, my teenaged kid wanted to check them out at Epcot’s Garden Rocks series, and knowing this is the band that does the theme song for What’s New Scooby-Doo?, I said “why not?”

It was quickly apparent after arriving in time for their second set this past Saturday, June 4, that this was obviously not the same crowd that were here with us for other recent shows like Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas. But still, there was no denying the amount of energy on stage, and it was no doubt infectious on tracks like “Nothing’s Ever Going to Bring Me Down,” “Jump,” “When I’m Gone,” “The Antidote,” “Vacation,” “I Can’t Keep My Hands Off You,” and “Crazy.” A brief guitar solo segued into the band’s biggest hit, “I’m Just a Kid” (which appeared in just about every clunker stoner flick back in the day like Grind and The New Guy).

When the band re-emerged for their third and final set of the night, they surprisingly played a completely different set (albeit still no theme from Scooby-Doo thrown in, unfortunately), and opened with the 2002 pop punk staple “Addicted” (one of the few songs in the band’s catalog I actually know well, thanks to it forever being tied to the memory of a break up at the time).

From then on the band continued to bring it with both old songs and new in the form of “The Worst Day Ever,” “Astronaut,” and “Iconic” before going though a trio of covers that the crowd went crazy over, including Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi,” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” The band then wrapped things up with “Where I Belong” and finally, “Perfect,” which saw cell phones lighting up the night sky.

Although I probably won’t be rushing to see Simple Plan again the next time they come around, I can’t say I regret catching them this past weekend. And if their brand of catchy pop tunes is up your alley, by all means, check them out if you get the chance.

Paul McCartney at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on 5/28/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I’ve witnessed greatness on stage many times in the nearly three decades since I first started going to concerts. I’ve seen many early rock and heavy metal bands from “back in the day,” including pioneering acts such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Aerosmith, and even The Rolling Stones. But never before have I managed to catch one of The Beatles, the ones who started it all, and undeniably my earliest memory of rock music going back to when my parents had first introduced me to them so many years ago.

But that finally happened this past Saturday, May 28, when legendary former Beatle himself Paul McCartney took the stage at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. I was there to witness this much anticipated event with my wife, son, mother-in-law, and extended family and friends of the Rewind It Magazine family. I don’t think a single one of us could issue a word of complaint if we tried.

Opening with the classic Beatles track “Can’t Buy Me Love,” I was instantly transported back to childhood memories of seeing old black and white footage of the fab four bobbing around on stage together. For the next two and a half hours, I found myself so transfixed on that stage, possibly the most lost in music I’ve ever been in my lifetime prior.

The next few songs, “Junior’s Farm,” “Letting Go,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” and “Come On To Me” all served as decent enough warm ups that were paving the way to better things, the blues-ly Wings staple “Let Me Roll It” and the Sgt. Peppers-era “Getting Better” being a couple of said things. “Let ‘Em In” followed before McCartney dedicated “My Valentine” to his wife (who was in attendance for the show) and oddly enough featured actors Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman “signing” the lyrics on the video screens.

“Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five” was up next with some retro lazer light work, while more classics like “Maybe I’m Amazed” and The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” followed. Paul then dug deep with a track from his pre-Beatles Quarrymen days, “In Spite of All the Danger,” as well as “Love Me Do,” each featuring a little history of their original recordings from McCartney.

The semi-newer track “Dance Tonight” was next before McCartney took the stage solo with an acoustic guitar to perform “Blackbird,” another chill-inducing moment. “Here Today” was next up, before McCartney joked about the lack of interest usually reserved for newer music, before appropriately going into a newer track in the form of “New,” featuring the refrain “We can do what we want.”

Another Beatles number, “Lady Madonna,” proceeded before the interesting “Fuh You,” and although the Sgt. Pepper track “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” attempted to bring the psychedelic vibe with it, it was definitely one of the weaker moments of the night. A little backstory on late Beatle George Harrison preceded a ukulele-driven version of “Something” before picking things up again with the goofy but harmless “Obla Di, Obla Da.”

From then on it was nothing but the best, including some Abbey Road (my favorite Beatles album) era classics like “You Never Give Me Your Money” (which McCartney explained he and his current band had never performed live before) and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window,” before launching into “Get Back.”

Another Wings track, “Band on the Run,” followed before McCartney took the piano again to serenade the crowd with “Let it Be,” blow everyone away (literally with various pyros and explosions) with the James Bond theme “Live and Let Die,” and invoke the entire stadium to sing along with “Hey Jude,” the unforgettable, massive Beatles anthem from 1968, and close out the first set.

It didn’t take long for McCartney and company to take the stage again for an encore, beginning with “I’ve Got a Feeling,” which he explained Get Back director Peter Jackson had isolated John Lennon’s vocals for specifically for the tour, and fans were therefore given a rare treat. “Birthday” and “Helter Skelter” got the crowd on their feet again, while the epic climax of “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” (hands down one of my favorite Beatles medlies) was finally enough to choke up an old dog like myself, as I became overwhelmed with emotion, knowing just what greatness I had just experienced.

As if this wasn’t all enough in itself, a chance encounter on the way out of the stadium found us actually crossing paths with Alter Bridge and Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti (see photo below), who was more than happy to briefly chat with us about the concert we had all just witnessed (among other things). I couldn’t possible write a better ending to an already epic story if I tried.

The Rewind It Magazine crew (from l to r; Jacob Striewski, Shawn McKee, Jesse Striewski, and Brooke Striewski) with Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Temonti after Paul McCartney’s show last Saturday, May 28 (Photo by Jhennifer McKee).

Tony Orlando at Epcot’s Garden Rocks on 5/21/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke and Jacob Striewski

This was originally going to be a much different concert review than it is, but sometimes life has a funny way of working out. When I headed to Epcot with the family for yet another Garden Rocks concert I was expecting to see ’80s new wavers A Flock of Seagulls. But it became quickly apparent that was not happening when, after arriving, the older gentleman next to us quipped, “You guys don’t look old enough to know who Tony Orlando is!”

And so began our adventure at a Tony Orlando show, which was surprisingly more entertaining than any of us expected the ’70s performer to be. It’s doubtful that few in attendance were expecting Orlando to open with a blistering cover of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love” either, but that’s exactly how it went down.

From then on, Orlando ran through his most popular hits including “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree,” “Candida,” and “Knock Three Times,” before going into a medely of “La Bamba/Twist and Shout.” In between all of this, there was a brief solo that found drummer Timothy Pope emerging from behind his set to continue playing his sticks on everything from a bar stool, to the very front of the stage itself.

Tony Orlando and fan during his show at Epcot on 5/21/22.

There was also some interaction between Orlando and a female fan holding a sign with a photo of them from 1979 on it. Orlando promptly invited the fan onto stage, where he finally planted a smooch on her after all these years. This of course drew plenty of applause from the audience.

Next up, 18-year-old bassist Captain Sibley took over vocals for a cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” showcasing the young newcommer’s talent, before finally finishing the set with hyped-up version of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” I can’t say I was ever a big Tony Orlando fan, but I also cannot deny how much fun he was to watch perform live, proving that nothing beats live music no matter what.

Berlin at Epcot’s Garden Rocks on 4/30/22 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I really didn’t have intentions of going to yet another Garden Rocks concert at Epcot this past Saturday, April 30. But my wife/photographer Brooke insisted we each meet there after our schedules aligned, and I’m glad we did (ironically, I ended up seeing the whole show while she missed a good portion of it!). And truth be told, I didn’t even know much of Berlin’s material until I first met said lovely wife of mine roughly a decade ago.

The band took the stage right at 8:00pm (for the sixth and final time of the weekend according to singer Terri Nunn) opening their short set with “Masquerade.” More fan favorites like “No More Words,” “The Metro,” and the newer “Animal” continued the show before Nunn slowed things down a bit to tell a brief but teary-eyed story about meeting Walt Disney in person when she was a child.

This tender moment segued into the group’s most well-known hit, the synth-pop ballad “Take My Breath Away” from the 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster Top Gun, which of course the crowd ate up with more than just a little bit of delight (and on a side note, I often point to said film as the movie that really “awakened” me to rock music with its soundtrack, so on a personal level it was great seeing another band that performed on it live, with Cheap Trick and Loverboy being the other two).

But it didn’t end there; a high octane cover of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary” gave Nunn an excuse to run from the stage into the audience and continue singing among a stunned, ecstatic crowd. For the finale, bassist John Crawford put down his four-string to duet with Nunn on a PG-rated version of “Sex (I’m A…),” which if I’m not mistaken, contained some alternate, Disney-inspired lyrics to better suite the atmosphere.

After this, all of the band members gathered arm-in-arm on stage to take a gracious bow. It was a fitting, classy goodbye to an already appreciative audience, and a night few in attendance are likely to forget anytime soon. The only downfall of the entire evening? The lone young lady thrashing herself next to us and hitting us with her hair the entire time. A word of advice in the off-chance she’s reading this; when at a concert, have some courtesy for those near you, because you never know if those people next to are actually there to get coverage (like this) of the show for you.

Berlin taking a bow after their final set at Epcot’s Garden Rocks on Saturday, April 30, 2022 (Photo by Brooke Striewski).