Ageless Performance By John Waite At The Riviera

Concert Review
John Waite
Riviera Theatre
North Tonawanda, NY
Saturday December 2, 2023
Review: Joseph Suto
Photos: Joseph Suto

70 must be the new 40 and vocalist John Waite made it look so easy as the 71 year old singer moved about the stage from one end to the other like a man half his age. Watching Waite perform at the Riviera Theatre Saturday evening was like stepping back in time. It marked the second time he played the famed venue in North Tonawanda, NY and was his first appearance since 2021. The 80-minute set featured songs throughout Waite’s storied career including those with The Babys, Bad English as well as his solo career.

Hitting the crowd right out of the gate with The Babys “Midnight Rendezvous” Waite proceeded to give the fans the best of what he had. The best included amazing versions of “Head First” and an impromptu version of “Isn’t It Time”. The latter was a song from The Babys which was the first song by them to land in the top-40 peaking at #13. Of course the two number one smashes Waite was associated with were included. The solo song “Missing You” which hit in 1985 and the Bad English song “When I See You Smile” which landed the supergroup on the top spot in 1989. Song after song Waite continued to deliver a scorching set with Babys classics “Change” and the optimistic “Back On My Feet Again”. He ended the set with a cover of Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” which had everyone standing until Waite departed the stage for the evening.

Waite was backed by a solid veteran band. Drummer Alan Childs who played with Waite back in the 80s as well as a long list of notable musicians, Philadelphia native, the man in black, bassist Tim Hogan and guitarist Mark Ricciardi who was a long time fixture in the underground music scene in LA.

Those who missed the show will be glad to hear that Waite will be on tour this summer as he landed the opening slot for the Styx/Foreigner tour. The closest stop will be in Toronto at Budweiser Stage. As of now no local or other nearby shows have been announced.

Opening was singer-songwriter Frank Viele who put on an exceptional acoustic set.

Set List

Midnight Rendezvous (Baby’s Song)
Best of What I Got (Bad English Song)
Missing You
Head First (Baby’s Song)
Bluebird Cafe
Whenever You Come Around (Vince Gill Cover)
Every Time I Think of You (Baby’s Song)
Isn’t It Time (Baby’s Song)
When I See You Smile (Bad English Song)
Change (Baby’s Song)
Back on My Feet Again (Baby’s Song)
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin Cover)

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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