Depeche Mode at Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 10/10/23 By Jesse Striewski

Last week, ’80s stalwarts and new wave innovators Depeche Mode brought their signature synth pop to Orlando for the first time since 1998 (the closest they’ve come has been Tampa a couple of times since then) for what many have labeled a “comeback” tour (original keyboardist and founding member Andy Fletcher past away last year, leaving just singer Dave Gahan and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore as the two lone original members).

Admittedly, I was not quite prepared for the laborious, twenty-five song set list that lay ahead at the Amway Center last Tuesday, October 10; as only a casual fan of the band, I was more or less there out of my wife’s insistence. To make matters worse, photo passes for media were limited for the event (and Rewind It were one of many not to be issued one), and rather than bringing a contemporary with them to open the show, that duty was given to a bland New York-based outfit called DIIV (pronounced “Dive”), who maybe I might’ve shown some interest in had I first heard them ten years ago.

Earlier this year I had actually given Depches’ latest album, Memento Mori, a favorable review for Rewind It. But after hearing far more tracks from it than expected live (six out of a total of twelve of the album’s tracks were actually performed), I was slightly over it. “Speak to Me,” “My Cosmos is Mine,” “Wagging Tongue,” “Walking in My Shoes,” “It’s No Good,” “Sister of Night,” and “In Your Room” were not exactly the strongest songs from the band’s extensive catalogue to kick the night off with.

“Everything Counts” finally started bringing things in the right direction, before “Precious,” “My Favourite Stranger,” “A Question of Lust,” “Soul With Me,” “Ghosts Again” (one of the more favorable tracks from Memento…), “I Feel You,” “A Pain That I’m Used To,” “World in My Eyes,” “Wrong,” and “Stripped” all followed.

But the band truly saved the best for last, with “John the Revelator,” “Enjoy the Silence,” “Condemnation,” (with a brief rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” thrown in for good measure, dedicated to a 16-year-old member of the audience), “Just Can’t Get Enough,” “Never Let Me Down Again,” and lastly, the grand finale of “Personal Jesus” closing out the already exhausting evening.

Although they might have ended on a high note, there were still far too many of the band’s classics missing from the set, including “People are People,” “Policy of Truth,” and one of my personal favorites, “Blasphemous Rumors” (I’d take any one of those tracks over “Just Can’t Get Enough” any day). But I digress; regardless of what songs they included in their set, there’s no denying the everlasting imprint Depeche Mode have left on modern music, so to hear them live at least once in this lifetime was fully worth the investment.

WWE Raw at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL on 2/6/23 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I can’t say I’ve really kept up with the WWE – or any pro wrestling for that matter – for quite some time. But a trip to last year’s Sunday Stunner in Daytona Beach was enough to reignite a guilty pleasure I had not felt for many years since the likes of The Ultimate Warrior or Jake “The Snake” Roberts were mixed in among the various other He-Man or G.I. Joe action figures I had at the time while growing up (back when it was still known as the WWF).

So when the chance to cover WWE Raw at the Amway Center for Rewind It Magazine presented itself, I couldn’t resist (even if my wife/photographer was less than thrilled with the notion). And while I might not be completely up to speed with all the lingo per se, I got the gist of what was going on, and what exactly I liked. Case in point; the very first match of the night this past Monday, February 6, was between two extremely easy-on-the-eyes ladies in the form of Dana Brooke and Indi Hartwell that immediately caught my attention (Brooke walked away from said match victorious).

A tag team match between the Creed Brothers (Brutus and Julius Creed) and the Good Brothers (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) followed (with the latter winning) before commentator Corey Graves introduced the one and only Edge and Beth Phoenix (one of the best moments of the night occurred when Edge stopped to take a selfie with a young fan during his entrance music, no doubt making said fan’s night). An all-out brawl then ensued as the two took on bad guys The Judgement Day, featuring Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, Rhea Ripley, and Damien Priest.

A little drawn-out drama (complete with seemingly every ref in the house stepping in) then ensued before Angelo Dawkins of The Street Profits took on Priest one-on-one, leading him to actually toss Priest onto the judges table at one point, although Priest would ultimately come out with the win. This was followed by one of the quickest matches of the night, seeing Dexter Lumis taking out Baron Corbin via pinfall in about five minutes time.

The crowd then got a brief taste of what was to come between Becky Lynch and Bayley with some behind-the-scenes drama before the mighty Brock Lesner emerged to call out (and eventually body slam) Bobby Lashley in an effort to get him to sign a contract to face him again.

Things really heated up once Candice LeRae struted out and onto the ropes wearing pixie wings, ready to battle Carmella, Michin, and Piper Niven in a four-way qualifying match. Carmella eventually reigned supreme in the match (in a red bikini top nonetheless) even after Niven laid the three other ladies out flat in one swift shot at one point.

Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin then joined forces to take down The Alpha Academy, hands down one of the most entertaining and fun tag team matches of the night with the antics of Otis and Chad Gable adding an extra layer of hilarity.

The crowd then got a look into what was to come next week between The Miz and Rick Boogs, before Chelsea Green took to the ring in what felt like the closest thing to a striptease of the night. Her optimism was short-lived though, as wild woman Asuka took her down quickly. Montez Ford and Elias also went at it (with Ford walking away with the W) to qualify for the elimination chamber before the main event of the night.

Superstars Bianca Belair and Cody Rhodes (with Paul Heyman by his side) also made some brief appearances before stepping aside for Seth Rollins and Austin Theory to briefly duke it out before said main event – the steel cage match between Bayley and Becky Lynch, which was every bit of pure adrenalized excitement as one would imagine a match in a steel cage between grown women could be. Lynch ultimately emerged with the victory after the one and only Lita made a surprise return to help see things through.

Although it might not be the same wrestling I knew growing up as I alluded to in the beginning of this article, it was still without a doubt a night to remember, and there’s a good chance you might just find Rewind It Magazine there the next time the WWE comes through town again.

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.