John Waite - Madlife Stage and Studios - Woodstock, Georgia
December 8, 2022 -
Madlife Stage and Studios is one of my favorite places, and I enjoy performing there and love seeing concerts there when I can. The vibe is very cool, and it is small enough so that every seat in the house is an excellent seat. They are known for booking mainly the best tribute shows in the country, so I was shocked when I learned that John Waite was coming to perform two shows at Madlife in December 2022. I almost fell out of my seat and thought it had to be misinformation. After digging around, I discovered it wasn't a joke, so I bought tickets immediately.
I first fell in love with the music and voice of John Waite back in the 1970s when he fronted The Babys, and of course, I followed his career on into the 80s and have always been a devoted fan. Yet, oddly enough, I had never seen him in concert, so I was excited about this show.
John is now almost 71 years old, so I was curious about what to expect from his performance. I immediately discovered when he walked onstage and sang the first note that I was in for a treat and what a treat it was. First off, John looked terrific. He was healthy, trim, and fit, and his voice was in stellar shape - clear, powerful, precise, and confident. Mr. Waite performed with extreme confidence, passion, and purpose. He wholly owned the stage from start to finish. I will be totally honest - I was floored. John Waite gave the ultimate performance at Madlife that night. A concert that could be used as the perfect example to show that age, for the most part, does not matter when it comes to rock and roll as long as you take extreme care of your body, health, voice, and spirit. When his show was over, I quickly realized how so many musicians use age and bad health as an excuse when most are just lazy and looking for an excuse or the easy way out. I will say that I have been guilty of that myself, and John abruptly put me in my place. If you can see him on tour this year, do yourself a favor and go. And although he is no baby (pun intended), he is still rocking like he is 30.
My Mother and I have shared a deep love for Christmas music ever since I was a child. In 1984, Mannheim Steamroller released their first Christmas album. That first album, along with every Holiday album they have released since, quickly became a deeply embedded part of our Christmas season. For some odd reason, however, we never got around to seeing them in concert. Go figure? Well, we finally had the chance to see them at The Fox Theatre on November 27, 2022, and for many reasons, it was one of the most special, happy, and memorable evenings with my Mom I have ever spent together. Merry Christmas!
The older I become, the stranger the concept of time plays with my head, which in turn plays with my heart. Our last show of this tour was on November 20, 2022, at The Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Not only was it the final show of our tour, but it was also the first time we had ever performed in Atlanta. The tour and the show were a big success, and it went by quickly. For me, this tour started perfectly, and it ended perfectly. I joined the tour at The Peoria Illinois Civic Theatre and ended in Atlanta at The Buckhead Theatre.
I just recently started counting up the tours and came to find that this coming January will mark my 8th year with MANI - The ABBA Tribute. Although the calendar does not lie, it is very difficult to believe that I have been with the band for eight years. However, that is a conversation for another blog. I have taken the time to journal about each date we played. I also have included my photos and videos of each show, so I hope you will take the time to read and enjoy them. You may read my Tour Blog by going HERE.
One year ago today, I started a blog I had wanted to do for a very long time but never took the time to do. I had been asked by many people for several years why I did not create a tour blog while I was out on tour with MANIA - The ABBA Tribute Show. Naturally, I did not have the time was the answer. After giving that answer for several years, I took a step back to think about what it would entail. I decided the end product would be worth the time, so I created the ABBA MANIA - Fall 2021 Tour Blog. (You can read that blog and see all the pictures by going HERE) People enjoyed it, but as anticipated, it took much of my free time on tour. That being the case, I decided I would probably not do it again. Well, for several reasons I have changed my mind.
The MANIA - Fall 2022 Tour Blog is now live. You can view it by going HERE. As of this writing, I am six dates into the tour, which will be running through November 20. Please take the time to join me on tour by checking out my blog regularly and enjoying my thoughts and pictures of my time on the road. I would love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment if you have time.
See you on the road!
October 26, 2022
Having completed two music videos for my current project, 'Right Where I Am,' by the end of July 2022, plans were made for work to commence again in September. We worked hard and completed two more music videos for 'Right Where I Am.' We also finished two new Ross Vannelli songs and one video. Both songs, 'I Keep The Light On' and 'We Go On,' were written explicitly for Mullens Miracles. We did not expect to accomplish half of this in the time we had blocked off. Still, much to our surprise, we had all that completed in two weeks. We return to Los Angeles in January 2023 to continue our journey..
For all the details and pictures, go to Current 2022 Projects - Right Where I Am here at JeffPike.com
I cannot believe that fall is already upon us. Fall is my favorite time of year, October is my favorite month, and Halloween is my favorite Holiday. If that weren't enough good news, I am hitting the road with MANIA - The ABBA Tribute Show from October 18 through November 20. For those who may not be aware, ABBA MANIA is now MANIA - The ABBA Tribute. Yes, we changed our name! All Fall Tour Dates and ticket information are listed under the LIVE section here on JeffPike.com.
Below is a list of the complete Fall 2022 and Winter 2023 tours. I will post all venue and ticket information for the 2023 tour here on JeffPike.com before the end of the month. We are playing a lot of dates, so you should be able to grab a show somewhere. See you on the road!
There are a couple of new updates I have to share with you regarding the release plan for my next album, 'Right Where I Am.' If you have followed closely, you know I finished recording in late 2021. My initial plan was to release it in the fall of 2022 but touring, life, Covid, finances, time, and many other unexpected obstacles made me reconsider. Sometimes obstacles can be a good thing. After much thought and conversation with my producer, Gino Vannelli, we concluded that the best way to proceed is to make videos for each song on the album and then release some of them as singles with accompanying videos over time. Then once some headway has been made, we will release the complete finished version of 'Right Where I Am.' The plan is to make the album available on CD, Vinyl, and digital streaming. There will also be a Video Album consisting of all the songs on the album and possibly a couple of bonus videos. Naturally, being the old-school guy I am and firmly believing that everything comes back around, I will also make the video album available on DVD. So now, the ball is passed from Gino to his brother Ross, and his assistant and cameraman, Alex Lebowitz.
Ross Vannelli is a highly successful songwriter, producer, audio engineer, video director, and Gino's business and creative partner. Being very familiar with Ross's work, I am incredibly excited to have him in charge of this part of our ambitious project. The first song we decided to shoot was "Sunset On L.A." As luck would have it, the ABBA MANIA tour ended in Hollywood on March 13, 2022. Since Ross and Alex are based in Los Angeles, Kathy Mullen flew out, and we decided to stay a few extra days and shoot the video. I could not have planned a better experience without scripting it myself. Ross is a helluva guy with a beautiful soul, a keen sense of humor, and a creative genius, just like his brothers Gino and Joe. The weather was stunningly perfect, and we spent two days shooting in Hollywood, Malibu, and Ross's studio. I can honestly say that I have not had that much fun working in a very long time. Everything went smoothly, and we all worked together very well. Also, like his brothers, he works very hard. Ross completed the video in less than two weeks, and we are thrilled with the results.
On July 17, we headed back to Los Angeles to start work on the following video and the album's title track, " Right Where I Am." While we shot some footage in a nearby park in Thousand Oaks, most of the performance footage was shot in Ross's studio. Having the incredible opportunity to watch Ross and Alex work is much like it is while watching Gino work on our music. Their astute knowledge and expertise in what they do make the process incredibly fascinating from which to watch and learn.
Even at its best, shooting a video is time-consuming, exhausting, and draining. Since we only had four days to spend in Los Angeles before returning to Atlanta for some A1A shows, I fully expected to go home empty-handed and await an update from Ross. We were amazingly surprised when we returned to Ross's studio for our last day together, which was an off day, to find that he was halfway completed with the video. So we put off our relaxation plans and sat with Ross while he finished the video. We were floored at how quickly he finished the video and how stunningly beautiful the results were. I still can't believe it.
The following weekend, when we were getting ready to disembark our airplane in Las Vegas, my phone rang, and it was Gino. He was highly excited and gushing with compliments about the video and more creative ideas for the marketing and creative elements of the growing creative aspects of the project. His phone call made my day, and the text he sent afterward reminded me how lucky, grateful, and blessed I am.
Right Where I Am gave me a chill, Jeff. Congrats. Your sincerity is the glue. - G"
August 20, 2022
Caribbean Steel at The Bus Bar and Grill
Sponsored by The Atlanta Parrot Head Club
The Bus Bar and Grill in Ocoee, Tennessee, is one of the most unique and fun clubs I have ever played. It is entirely outdoors and made from two empty school buses. There is a covered bar area and a lovely covered stage, and a big yard which to enjoy it all.
Once a year, the Atlanta Parrot Head Club plans a rafting weekend near there and invites Caribbean Steel up to play. It is an excellent time for I get to see a lot of old friends, which, sadly, I only get to see about once a year. It was raining a lot yesterday, but it had all gone away by showtime. Once again, a wonderful time was had by all!
What a wonderful time I had performing at the Village Co-Op in Clinton, Iowa. The audience was wonderful and very appreciative. Since the onset of Covid, I rarely perform solo shows anymore. I miss it terribly and feel I need to return to doing more shows like this. Thanks to Nancy Rockwell, Annette Conzett, and Kathy Mullen for making this event happen. I look forward to returning.
Caribbean Steel - Coolray Field - Lawrenceville, Georgia
Margaritaville Night with The Gwinnett Stripers
July 28, 2022
Hot Dogs, Baseball, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet was how the old saying went when I was growing up. Hot dogs, baseball, and apple pie are obviously still around, but there are many more American cars to choose from now than Chevrolet.
I grew up going to see The Atlanta Braves play at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and I have many beautiful memories of my childhood and youth with family and friends at the ballpark. I played baseball throughout all my formative years and have always had a soft spot and love for the game. So whenever I have a chance to perform for the Atlanta Braves or their minor league teams, I always say yes.
On July 28, 2022, Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia, sponsored 'Margaritaville Night' with The Gwinnett Stripers. I booked Caribbean Steel for the gig to keep things sweet and simple. Nico G. and I had a blast. We played only for an hour, directly when the doors opened, until game time. The crowd walking by stopped to sing and dance, and everyone had a wonderful time. Afterward, the Stripers offered us a private suite, a low country boil dinner, and free drinks to enjoy while we watched the game. It was a lovely evening, and the Stripers won! Nothing beats a day out at the ballpark with margaritas. Oh, and hot dogs too.