Stevie B at Oasis on the River in Sanford, FL on 9/25/21 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I can vividly remember being a kid in New Jersey and riding in my older sister’s convertible, listening to her Stevie B tape of Party Your Body while riding with the top down. One of the few things I knew about Stevie B at the time was that he was from this mystical place called Florida, so as far as my young mind was concerned, that was what “Florida music” was exactly supposed to sound like.

It’s funny how life works sometimes; not only do I now reside in Florida myself, but I can even watch Stevie B perform in the very state I once thought was so exotic so many years ago. That’s exactly what happened this past Saturday, September 25, when the freestyle legend himself graced the stage at Oasis on the River in Sanford, FL. And between the large pool nearby the stage and bikini-clad bartenders/waitresses, the Miami-vibe was no doubt alive and well, too.

The night started just after 7:00 pm, with live music being provided by a revolving door of DJ’s such as DJ Frank Dee, DJ Daggett, and DJ Mark Sanchez. Now, it’s no secret I’m more of a “rock” guy, so admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about DJ’s (nor quite understand why anyone would want to hear yet another riveting rendition of “This is How We Do It” for the umpteenth time, but that’s just me). But I suppose each DJ possessed their own uniqueness, and the crowd no doubt responded to them with plenty of enthusiasm.

At some point during all of those beats, local newcomer John Skoolyaad was invited onto the stage to sing an obscure Stevie B song in the form of “Running For Miles.” The young performer oozed style and professionalism, and brought a different level of talent to the stage before Stevie B’s own DJ Slice kept the party going for what seemed like an excessive amount of time (even if he was the most talented of all the DJ’s that night – would have definitely preferred a longer set from Stevie B in place of the numerous opening acts).

Local singer John Skoolyaad performing shortly before Stevie B’s set.

Finally, the man of the hour himself, Stevie B, took the stage at approximately 11:35 pm (call me an old man, but that’s about two hours later than a desired start time for this guy, considering I’m up no later than 7:00 am seven days a week). But the entire night instantly became worthwhile as he kicked things off with the club anthem “Party Your Body.”

More hits continued, including “Dreamin’ of Love,” “I Wanna Be the One,” and the massive 1990 number one ballad, “Because I Love You (The Postman’s Song).” Another song or two (which the names of escape me at the moment) followed before Stevie took it back to 1988 (his own words) and ended the night with the freestyle/dance classic, “Spring Love.”

Beyond exhausted by the end of his set, my always lovely photographer/assistant (who also happens to be my wife) and I took just a few extra minutes to mingle before exiting. In the process, we ran into not only said singer John Skoolyaad, but also ’90s pop star Rockell (best remembered for her 1997 dance hit “In a Dream”), who was watching Stevie B’s set from the stage the entire time. It was the perfect high-note ending to a very, very long night.

Rewind It’s Jesse Striewski (right) with singers Rockell and John Skoolyaad.

Little Ozzy at Oasis on the River in Sanford, FL on 6/12/21 By Jesse Striewski/Photos By Brooke Striewski

I’ll be completely blunt here; when it comes to tribute and/or cover bands, I can sometimes border on the “snob-ish” side (my attitude has always been, ‘why would I want to see imitators, if I’ve already seen the original?’). But when it’s done right, a tribute/cover act can sometimes come close to being as fun as the real thing. Such was the case with 4’10 singer Lin Doak, otherwise known to the world as Little Ozzy, who along with his band, rocked Oasis on the River in Sanford this past Saturday, June 12.

Over the course of just a few years, Little Ozzy has climbed his way to the top as one of the world’s leading Ozzy Osbourne tribute acts, even appearing on such multiple TV shows including America’s Got Talent and Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour. And while I have already seen the actual Prince of Darkness himself before, both solo and with Black Sabbath (in 1997 and 2004, respectively), I knew there was something special enough about Little Ozzy to get me to put my usual reservations towards tribute bands aside for one night.

My gut instincts quickly proved right, as the band – which also consists of guitarist Johnny Lawrence, bassist Aaron Rowe, and drummer Draven Blaq – took the stage just after 9:00pm, opening with a one-two punch of “I Don’t Know” and “Crazy Train” (really the only appropriate way to introduce a set of Ozzy classics at this point). Adding to the overall decadence of the evening was the atmosphere of the venue Oasis itself; with a pool filled with bathing beauties directly in front of the stage, there was plenty for the eyes to behold.

I was pleasantly surprised when the band followed up with a bit of a deep cut in the form of “Believer,” before segueing into a number of Sabbath staples that included “Iron Man,” “Children of the Grave” (one of my personal favorites), and “Sweet Leaf.” Solos from Blaq and Lawrence sandwiched more hits like “Mama I’m Coming Home,” “War Pigs,” and “Suicide Solution,” before Little Ozzy told a brief story of meeting late Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhoads’ brother, Kelly.

The band then slowed things down a bit for a spot-on version of “Goodbye to Romance” (always a favorite), before finally calling it a night with epic renditions of “Mr. Crowley,” “Shot in the Dark,” and “Fairies Wear Boots.” Although their set was nearly flawless, I found it odd that mega hit “Bark at the Moon” was omitted from the set, and I would personally love to hear more forgotten tracks like “Breaking All the Rules” included as well (but that’s just me).

Still, there really wasn’t all that much to complain about Saturday night’s show. So the next time Little Ozzy comes through your town, be sure to catch him and his band if you can; it’s sure to put an Ozzy-size smile on your face!