On Saturday, Oct. 8, the illustrious and self-proclaimed “positive, enthusiastic, slightly oddball party band” known as The B-52s came to Orlando over fall break.
Now, for those who do not know, radio station 98.9 WMMO holds a concert every few months in the heart of downtown Orlando as part of its Downtown Concert Series. Past artists who have performed include YES, Styx, Collective Soul, Sister Hazel, Pat Benetar and Rick Springfield, just to name a few. The best part about these shows is that they are completely free to the general public (although VIP passes can be either won during daily sweepstakes held by the station leading up to said shows or bought prior to the show).
This was not my first experience with the Downtown Concert Series; I had attended a concert earlier this year when the series brought none other than Tears for Fears to rock the night. I already knew what to expect as the date was getting closer. What I could not predict: the weather.
The night before the concert was to take place, as well as throughout the day Saturday, it was raining nonstop. Although I am not one to shy away from a little rain, it can become quite dangerous to try and hold a concert in the middle of a potential storm. While my plans were on the verge of being completely dashed, the Amway Center graciously opened its doors to the public and offered up the arena to be the new venue at the last moment. This would be the first show of the Downtown Concert Series to be held in the new Amway Center. Needless to say, I was very excited.
Fast forward to 6:30 p.m., and I am right at the front of the barricade that separates the general audience from the VIPs on the floor of the Amway Center, and with a few of my good friends from back home, I am completely pumped and waiting to see the show. Before it officially began, local band Shadow Cabinet performed as the opening act. The band won said privilege through a contest held by 98.9 WMMO. Members played an array of their own music, as well as a few cover songs from bands like The Fixx and Elvis Costello. By about 9 p.m., everyone was in a state of utter anticipation, waiting for The B-52s to take the stage.
Then they finally did. While the band as a whole did a fantastic job, Cindy Wilson and Kat Pierson brought such energy and enthusiasm to the show. Keith Strickland consistently brought the house down with his performance on the guitar, and Fred Schneider tied it all together with his own distinct vocals. All together, the band executed the “call-and-response” method it has become famous for. From “Mesopotamia” to “Cosmic Thing” and everything in between, the band had the audience on its feet for a great majority of the night. I have always been a fan of “Love Shack,” and when the band ended the show with that number, I was in pure musical nirvana. By the final encore, when the band played its signature hit “Rock Lobster,” there was a certain mood that sett led over the crowd. Everyone there had one purpose, which was to enjoy themselves. For those two hours, everyone was able to put aside his or her stresses and the rigmarole of daily life and we as a collective unit had a great time.
If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend coming out to the Downtown Concert Series. If anything, it is a reason to get out of the dorm and to have a great time at a great price. The next concert is scheduled for December, where returning Downtown Concert Series band Sugar Ray is scheduled to perform. You know I will be there, and I hope to see many of you there, too.