Excellent Career Spanning Set! John Waite at City Winery Chicago (August 22, 2019)

John Waite has been making music since 1976 when he formed the Babys in London. He starts his set with a song from that era, “Midnight Rendezvous”. They also play “Isn’t It Time”, which they released in 1977. He introduces it by saying they used a full orchestra and a group of backup singers for the recording, but they’ll give it a shot with just the band. Also, if they screw it up, it’s the guitarist’s fault!

In 1981, the group disbanded and he released the album Ignition as a solo artist the following year. For the second song of the night, he plays “Change” from that album.

His second solo album, No Brakes (1984), produced his most famous song, “Missing You”, of which he does an electric version tonight. It’s a giant sing-a-long and the entire audience is all smiles.

In 1989, he formed Bad English and they released “When I See You Smile”, which is also part of tonight’s set. It’s a real career retrospective that all goes together very smoothly.  In 2017, he released Wooden Heart, Volume 2, which features “Downtown”. He tells us this song is about walking around downtown Manhattan where he has lived for most of his adult life and going to a martini bar.

He plays two covers tonight. “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan and “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. While these are both great songs, they seem out of place in his set and he doesn’t give any context for them.

Throughout the night, he is very conversational with the audience. This includes a long story about the origin of the song, “Bluebird Café”. This stage banter makes the show feel more intimate and definitely adds to the fantastic performance.

Cost of a ticket: $43

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

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