Home / Reviews / Concert Reviews / Bret Michaels and Lita Ford @ Orlando, Florida’s Downtown Concert Series on November 3, 2018
Downtown Concert Series Orlando, Florida

Bret Michaels and Lita Ford @ Orlando, Florida’s Downtown Concert Series on November 3, 2018

Florida’s weather cooperated for WMMO’s free concert in the park on Saturday, November 3, 2018  at Lake Eola in Orlando, Florida. The temperature was in the mid-eighties under partly cloudy skies with little or no chance of rain. The event was promoted as a free concert. There were fifty rows of seats in front of the stage for radio station giveaways and sponsors. In this VIP section, seats were also available for purchase, the rest was an open general admission.

The opening band Papa Wheelee, won a contest that was held to determine who was worthy of starting off this party. Papa Wheelee hit the stage about an hour past the 5:00pm scheduled start time to no fault of their own. MarkHoran.Pictures arrived at 4:30pm to photograph the show and found a seat in the VIP section as the sound check was being performed and the stage was being arranged. A later start was not detrimental to the concert as fans continued to pour in. The setting sun would soon be replaced with stage lighting.

Papa Wheelee has been around Orlando since March of 2009. They are a rock band that plays covers, which was appropriate as all three bands played covers as well as original songs. Papa Wheelee warmed up the crowd with 1970’s and 1980’s sing along songs familiar to a majority of the crowd as the sun set on the stage. They brought the energy and charisma of a polished act and the audience was ready for the next two national acts. The party had begun. 

Papa Wheelee

Band Members

David Hayes – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jack Wallace – Guitar, Vocals
James Thatcher – Drums

Mike DelCampo – Bass, Vocals

Setlist:

Break Up Song  (Greg Kihn)

Don’t You Forget About Me (Simple Minds)

Feels Like The First Time  (Foreigner)

Crue It Again (mashup)

Lonely Night  (Billy Squire)

Ozzy Love (mashup)

 

Lita Ford, was the first lead guitar woman of heavy metal, dating back to The Runaways in 1976. Lita  ripped the strings on her red, signature B.C. Rich guitar throughout most of her set. Near the end, things got serious and Lita broke out a beautiful white double neck guitar to perform her two biggest hits from her 1988 album, “Lita”, closing the show with “Close My Eyes Forever” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” By this time the audience had bunched up around the stage and were singing with Lita as crowds have been doing for forty plus years.

I remember when the Runaways were formed in 1976. There had never been an all girl band that I was aware of at the time to make it big. After four studio albums, in 1980, they called it quits. They never really gained ground in the United States, though they were a large success overseas, especially in Japan where they recorded their only live album. For many at the time in 1976, it appeared the band was a publicity stunt, a fake band not to be taken seriously, similar to  “The Partridge Family”. At the time, I found it intriguing and rooted for Lita Ford and her bandmate, Joan Jett, as they continued after 1980 to rock and roll in separate careers.

This show was a thrill for me and I am glad I attended. Lita Ford can continue rocking for another twenty years if she chooses. The highlight of the show for me was “Cherry Bomb” from her days in The Runaways, which brought me back in time. Get out and support Lita Ford if she brings her band to your area and see the woman that broke Rock and Roll’s glass ceiling.

Lita Ford

Band Members

Lita Ford – Guitar/Vocals

Marty O’Brien – Bass/Vocals
Bobby Rock – Drums
Patrick Kennison – Guitar/Vocals
Producer – Gary Hoey

 

Setlist:

  1. Gotta Let Go
  2. Larger Than Life
  3. Relentless
  4. Hungry
  5. Playin’ With Fire
  6. Back to the Cave
  7. Can’t Catch Me
  8. Cherry Bomb (The Runaways)
  9. Only Women Bleed (Alice Cooper)
  10. Close My Eyes Forever
  11. Kiss Me Deadly

 

Bret Michaels was the headliner for this free concert in Orlando, The City Beautiful. As the lead singer for the glam metal band Poison, which has sold over 40 million albums worldwide, you must ask yourself, what more does a man need to do? Well, Bret Michaels is in full gear, touring and giving back to others. The scope of the touring schedule and philanthropy are mind blowing. I didn’t pay much attention to his career. Sure, I knew about “Poison” and his reality TV show on VH1, “Rock of Love With Bret Michaels”. Looking for background to write this review, I was amazed to learn about the extent this man gives back. During the concert, he mentioned he has had type 1 diabetes since age 6 and needs several injections of insulin daily. That is incredible with his touring schedule. He also brought a group of veterans on stage and encouraged the audience to thank them. Ok, so he is a nice man that loves his country and has a disease. But then I dug deeper, this man schedules appearances at hospital fund raisers that coincide with show dates. Bret’s Life Rocks Foundation benefits several charitable causes from military support, childhood cancer, diabetes, and pet charities. His tireless support for his foundations and his music career is remarkable to me, as I have seen a live performance and I was winded.

Bret Michaels is a good man and I no longer look at him as just an aging rock star from the 1990’s trying to remain relevant. He is someone I respect and admire, as you should as well. Support Bret Michaels, go see a show, then support his charities and remove some of the thorns from the roses in the lives of those less fortunate. 

Setlist:

  1. Talk Dirty to Me (Poison song)
  2. Look What the Cat Dragged In (Poison song)
  3. Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
  4. Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina cover)
  5. Something to Believe In (Poison song)
  6. Unskinny Bop (Poison song)
  7. Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison song)
  8. Nothin’ but a Good Time (Poison song)

About Mark Horan

My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with inspiring musicians of all kinds. Using the medium of photography, these memories will last forever.

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