Things heated up at the Bandshell in Daytona Beach this past Saturday, May 6 for the Summer Throwback Bash featuring Taylor Dayne, Tiffany, and Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory (I realize as I type this, these are mostly all artists I remember my older sisters listening to while growing up, and not so much my own – I was more the Iron Maiden type back then).
Upon arrival (fashionably late as usual, of course) local cover artists Are Friends Electric were well into their set already, and within moments they were having technical difficulties with their mics. After having a laugh or two at its expense, the issue was resolved, and the band was able to resume churning out more hits like “Love Shack” before bowing out and stepping aside for the rest of the acts.
Nineties rapper Freedom Williams, best remembered for his time fronting dance hit makers C+C Music Factory, was up next. He wasted no time as he and co-lead vocalist (whose name I want to say was Smooth Jenny?) ran straight through the hits; “Here We Go (Let’s Rock n’ Roll),” “Things That Make You Go Hmm…,” and of course “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” all made their way into the set.
I have long since flown the flag for ’80s pop sensation Tiffany, and I’ve said before and I’ll say it again; her lesser-known, more recent material is far more interesting than the hits she’s remembered for most. And while I’ve seen her live twice before, I was looking forward to hearing her with a full live band this time instead of acoustic (guitarist Mark Alberici was once again by her side, as well as former and current L.A. Guns members Johnny Martin and Scot Coogan).
After opening with “Keep on Swinging,” she launched into the title track of her latest album, “Shadows,” no doubt one of her best songs in recent memory. A couple more new tracks in the form of “Cried For the Last Time” and the ballad “You’re My Everything” followed before going through a trio of her most well-known hits in the form of “I Saw Him Standing There,” “Could’ve Been,” and of course, “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
And lastly, headliner Taylor Dayne – another female artist I can clearly remember salivating over on my big sisters’ LP covers – closed out the evening. “Prove Your Love” and “With Every Beat of My Heart” initially paved way for bigger hits like “Don’t Rush Me,” “Heart of Stone,” and “I’ll Always Love You.”
More than once Ms. Dayne gave a little back story on some songs before performing them, including with “I’ll Be Your Shelter,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” Can’t Get Enough of Your Love,” and of course, “Tell It to My Heart.” While these songs might not have been my cup of tea per se at the time of their original releases, it’s no doubt easier for me to appreciate them now all these years later as a father and husband (especially with my beautiful bride by my side; it turned out to be yet another one of our many adventures together).