Category Archives: concert

Hearts of Gold luvs Styx!

Friday night brought together a classic rock band, lots of concert goers, and even more people wanting to help the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. 1900 people helped raise more than $200,000 to help the homeless. Thanks again, @cfl_homeless, for inviting the Top 5 to hang out with you at Hard Rock Live!

Special thanks to Who’s Hot Orlando for their awesome video! To see more of their videos from events around Orlando, visit their Youtube Channel or become a fan on Facebook.


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Filed under Charity, concert, Fun, Music

Top 3 and Sweet 16 – Home Teams Rock!

Orlando supports its Orlando Magic in a BIG TIME way (and we should) but we often forget about our collegiate home teams: UCF and Rollins College

Did you know UCF is the country third largest university? Bigger than UF, FSU, and USF. Wow! And if you haven’t visited the campus lately…it’s truly a cool college place. (I attended the Lady Gaga concert at the new UCF Arena… it’s awesome!) Let’s just say the school has come a loooong way since 1963! 

Ranked 3rd in the Nation in 2010


And, while their football and basketball teams have yet to hit the big time (Men’s Basketball Coach Kirk Speraw was just fired this past week despite having Michael Jordan’s son on the roster), the cheerleading squad has consistently been ranked one of the top squads in the nation. (Well, this is what I judge a college’s success on, you know!) 

2010 marks the fourth year in a row, the Knights have finished in the Top 3, this year behind Kentucky and Alabama, but finishing ahead of LSU and Ohio State. So, while many Orlandoans know very little about UCF’s successes, rest assured that ‘technology school out east of here’ is beginning to claim its rightful place as a major college to be reckoned with. 

Now on to Orlando’s other home team: The Rollins College Tars. (Yep, that beautiful little school on the end of Park Avenue in Winter Park.) I may be a bit biased as I coached the Rollins Cheerleaders for a decade, but this hometeam is one worth rooting for. First of all, for the fifth year in a row, Rollins College was ranked #1 southern college by US News & World Report. And while it isn’t nearly the size of UCF (Rollins boasts around 2,600 students), it does have a very impressive set of athletic teams.  Soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, and crew are always in the running for conference titles and national rankings.  

In particular, this year’s Men’s Basketball Team (27-6) made it to the Sweet 16, where it lost to Valdosta State on Tuesday, March 16.  How many Orlandoans even knew Rollins had a basketball team or knew they were any good? Well, now you do!  And probably one of the most vital things to note is Rollins athletes are students first. They come to school for an education, not to advance to the professional athletic ranks.  And, to me that is what college sports should be about most; kids playing because they love the sport, not because they might eventually get a paycheck from it.  

And, while UCF was founded in 1963, Rollins was one the earliest Florida schools, forming in 1895! (Some of its early athletes even went to the early Modern Olympic Games… Rex Beah won a silver medal in water polo in 1904!)  So, on February 5, Rollins held a campus-wide event “Rally Rollins” in celebration of 125 years of athletic heritage and school spirit. The inaugural event featured a ceremony honoring Class of 2010 athletes, followed by much-anticipated performances by comedians Jeff Heffron  and Dean EdwardsClick here for more info on upcoming events celebrating Rollins’ 125th anniversary

The Rollins Rally!Rollins students with their Tar mascot.


Rollins students with their Tar mascot.

So, now that you know…perhaps put both UCF and Rollins on your radar to see some quality sporting events!

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Filed under concert, Rollins College, Sports, UCF, Uniquely Florida, winter park

A Night to Remember…


Said fast and repeatedly, his name matches the sound of my heart beating quickly all day on Wednesday (March 10, 2010) in anticipation of seeing Michael Bublé  in concert at the Amway Arena.

The excitement had been building inside me since I first purchased tickets for my sisters and their “hubby” dates and for my own husband and myself as Christmas gifts.  I’ve been patting myself on the back for three whole months for coming up with the perfect gift…dinner for the six of us at Houston’s and this sure-fire winner of a show!  Great gift, huh?  It’s even better when you know a special little story behind it… 

Michael Bublé represents a very meaningful link for our family.  Our father, who passed away last August, adored Michael’s music…so much so, that we played Bublé ballads at his funeral.  “You’re My Everything” speaks volumes about our dad; its upbeat lyrics and pop sound are just so “him” when he was at his cutest and sweetest.  He also adored Michael’s jazz renderings, but, more than almost any others of his songs, Daddy loved the Sinatra-influenced numbers.  What a treat to be able to see our father’s musical hero in person!

But, there’s more…  March 10th was also the anniversary of our dear mother’s passing.  She’s been gone for four years now, but we celebrate her life and all that she was every minute of every day.  We know that she and our father dance in heaven to Bublé’s songs and certainly were dancing and smiling down at us while we sat mesmerized in the Amway Arena.

The opening act of the show was an a cappella group whose style is dubbed “vocal play,” called Naturally 7.  Wow!  They used their voices to create the sounds of different musical instruments, and the results were incredible.  One fellow even replicated an entire set of drums!  Their singing harmonies were fantastic, too!  One song, in particular, stood out for us because of its amazing beat but pure sweetness — “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps.”  The first tenor, Rod Eldridge, hit the most incredible high notes at the end of the song that I have ever heard!  I would go to a lone concert by Naturally 7 any time…any place!

To say that the audience was “warmed up” by the time Michael Bublé appeared is a complete understatement.  The excitement was palpable.  When he reached the stage, he started out “hot” and only got hotter — in every way!  He is adorable…charming, witty, great looking, and someone most women would love to take home!  (I imagine his new fiancee might not be too happy about that!)  And that voice!  He opened with “Cry Me a River,” and the arena exploded!

This was the opening night of Bublé’s “Crazy Love” tour, and I believe Orlando is really crazy in love with him!  The concert sold out back in December, and the arena was completely filled!  Michael gave us lots to hold in our hearts — Billy Vera and the Beaters’ “At This Moment,” “Mack the Knife,” “All of Me,” Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” “Georgia,” “For Once in my Life,” and on and on.  I stopped writing song titles when he did a tribute to his boyhood idol, Michael Jackson.  Bublé sang “Billie Jean,” strutted and danced a la Jackson, and it was so cool!  Unbelievably, he ended up down in the audience!  He made his way to a small stage in the middle of the arena floor, followed by throngs of fans with cell phone cameras, and actually sang “Home” in the middle of the crowd!  He obviously loves being so close to his fans, grasping hands, smiling for photos, and making personal remarks to many.

What a treat!  From start to finish, it was a magical experience for my family.  The stage was glorious, with special lighting effects and backgrounds, big video images of Michael (live, of course), gorgeous colors and patterns, and a very slippery looking, angled floor on which he danced and displayed his quite talented footwork!  I would have totally wiped out on it!  

I’m still patting myself on the back for thinking of this great gift for my family.  The best part is…it was a wonderful gift for me, too!  I’ll never forget it.

Posted by longtime Floridian and guest blogger Mary Margaret Bowen, Vice President at Park Maitland School • Daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother • Artist, teacher, computer geek, photographer, collector of antiques, art, and memories.

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Filed under Amway Arena, concert, family, Fun, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Music

One off the Bucket List: Jimmy Buffett Concert

I got to scratch one off my “bucket list” last night when Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band came to town, transforming Amway Arena into Margaritaville  for a sold-out show. In the 40 years Buffett has been performing, he has compiled a great songbook and perfected a marketing machine that allows him to charge $136 for a lower bowl ticket and $45 for a t-shirt. Nobody’s complaining, though, because Buffett puts on a great show, embracing his audience like an old friend.

When Buffett walked on stage, the first thing he did was kick off his flip flops, then he performed barefoot the rest of the night, bouncing and hopping around the stage as if he were hanging out with us in a beachside bar in Antigua. Weather permitting, it’s hard to catch me in anything but flip flops, but weather was definitely not permitting last night and I had to dress for court earlier, so I was feeling pretty out of place wearing khakis and a tailored shirt in a sea of sharkfin hats, parrot heads, Hawaiian print shirts, and LED-equipped sombreros.

A Buffett concert is a kind of mental health barometer. (Translation: If you aren’t having a good time, you probably need to book a session with your psychiatrist!) Last night, it seemed we were all in sound mental health as the whole crowd was on their feet dancing throughout the show.

The Coral Reefer Band was stellar – 4 percussionists (including outstanding steel drums and bongos), 5 guitars (including a pedal steel guitar for Buffett’s country-flavored songs), solid keyboards and a trumpet for punch. The set incuded some lesser- known songs and all of his greatest hits – “Come Monday”, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, “Changes in Latitude”, and of course “Margaritaville”. The band also performed covers of Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Southern Cross”, Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl”, and what had to be the stand-out of the night, Bob Marley’s “One Love”, which was preceded by a moving music video of the song being beautifully performed all over the world, from three women  standing in an empty field in India to a small band playing on balconies in the Soweto ghetto.

Buffett did a lot of reminiscing during the show, often referring to his Florida-Alabama roots and displaying a real affection for Orlando. The video screens played several shots of Buffett surfing and paddleboarding, and he jokingly recalled how he and his buddies in Mobile used to hope for hurricanes so they could get some decent waves to ride. By the end, I had decided Buffett was my new hero, something the rest of the adoring crowd had figured out years ago. Who else can make smoking grass and drinking beer seem like a wise choice and a strategic career move?

Posted by guest blogger Spencer Rhodes, a Central Florida native. In addition to practicing law, Spencer is a long-time Jimmy Buffett fan.


Filed under Amway Arena, concert, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Uniquely Florida

Buddy Guy was the Man, but for B.B., “The thrill is gone.”

I went to see the Buddy Guy and B.B. King concert at the King Center in Melbourne on February 4, 2010. It may be a bit of a drive, but with the Chart House for dinner beforehand, I figured it would be a great night all the way around.

Buddy Guy gave one of the most unique and satisfying performances I have ever seen.  Ironically, the last concert I attended featured Eric Clapton. (Clapton benefited much from Guy’s unique and path-finding style and in 2005, along with B.B. King, inducted Guy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

Buddy Guy

Guy played so soft you could hear his sweat bead then he would shift to playing tones so loud that all of Melbourne could bear witness to his greatness.  Often he would talk to us in between songs and make us laugh.  For many the highlight seemed to be a new song entitled “Skin Deep.”  It’s a nice ballad, but seemed out of context for the Rock and Roll Blues that I connect with Guy.

After Buddy Guy’s set, I told my wife that it didn’t matter what B.B. King’s performance would be like, this was already a great night! 

B.B. King’s set began with his very talented band warming us all up again.  The horn section, drummer, bass player and keyboardist were rocking the place!  Then slowly, the King of the Blues was helped in to his chair, front and center on the stage.  He played and he sang.  And then he talked.  And he talked.  Then he rambled and talked some more. At 85, B.B. is showing his age. During the rest of his set, there were precious few songs that showed the King’s greatness. Instead, there were ramblings ranging from how women should be treated to snipping at his drummer for being too loud. I respect his greatness, but also respect what a hundred dollar ticket means to some people.

B.B. King

B.B. ended the night with “The Thrill is Gone.” At least that’s what I heard at the hotel bar later that night.  For us, the thrill was gone about a half hour before that, when we followed other befuddled fans quietly out the door.

Post by Guest Blogger Brian Clyne, Dean of Faculty and Students at Park Maitland School. Brian is a avid poet and music lover.


Filed under concert, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Music, Out of Orlando

Fair Warning: Valentine’s Day Ahead!

I am posting this well before Valentine’s Day arrives, just in case any Top 5 fans are like my husband. I dearly love my hubby; we were high school sweethearts and have now been married for almost 18 years. However, when it comes to romance, he is not always–how shall I say it?–a rival of Romeo’s. He tends to lean a little more toward Larry the Cable Guy than Casanova. So, if you find yourself a bit like my hubby, then this is your advance warning:


Truly, we girls are pretty easy to please. It is not generally the cost of an item, but rather the thought that goes into it. One of the best presents my husband ever gave (yeah, he could be romantic if he really wanted to be) was a scavenger hunt. I had to use clues to find my way through the house to the ultimate gift of chocolate-covered strawberries and a pair of sunglasses. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was just a paper airplane awaiting me, I was just thrilled that he had put some advance thought into the gift!

So, here’s some wonderful ideas for a thoughtful Valentine’s Day, just in case you are running short on ideas:

Have a “Green” Valentines Day: Students at Rollins College are putting a “green” spin on a traditional “red” holiday. Members of the Eco Rollins organization are encouraging the purchase of small garden plants and herbs, rather than a traditional cut bouquet of flowers. This way the plant can continue to grow as opposed to traditional flowers that are only good for a limited amount of time.
Your home-run phrase: “It will continue to grow as my love does for you…”

 Tickets to see Almost, Maine: The final performance of the legendary Orlando Theatre Project, Almost, Maine is for romantics. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the most unexpected ways.
Your home-run phrase:Almost, Maine because I’m ‘almost’ totally and completely in love with you…”

Dinner and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra: Imagine a 4-course dinner provided by the famed White Wolf Cafe before settling in to listen to the world-famous Detroit Symphony Orchestra as they take the stage with conductor Leonard Slatkin and young cellist Sol Gabetta.
Your home-run phrase:  “This just shows you the music that’s in my heart…”

Valentine’s Day Concert at Leu Gardens: Swinging jazz under the stars in a beautiful botanical setting? Bring along a candle light picnic dinner, and you’ve got the makings of true romance.
Your home-run phrase: “Being here with you and the candles, the music, the atmosphere, it;s all I could ever want…”

Bee Mine Valentine’s Day Holiday Workshop: Give your wife a break by taking your preschooler (3 – 5 years old) to a special workshop at the Orlando Science Center on Saturday, February 13. Sometimes just a break from the kids is the most romantic gesture you can make!
Your home-run phrase: “Because you deserve some time for yourself…” 

Power Package at Pointe Orlando: If you haven’t been to Pointe Orlando (or at least not lately) you are in for a real night out!  Start with dinner at the Funky Monkey Wine Company (a four course sumptuous meal!) and then see Valentine’s Day, the new romantic comedy, and then end the evening with a night-cap and dance at B.B. King’s Blues Club.
Your home-run phrase: “No night out is too good for you…”

These are just a few suggestions to get you started thinking…remember IT IS THE THOUGHT that counts!

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Filed under concert, family, Music, Seasonal, The Arts

John Mayer (by Guest Blogger John Rife)

Central Florida Top 5 is one of our favorite sites. We check it all the time to find out what is happening in our area and are so grateful for this wonderful resource. So to share the love we’ve decided to do a little guest post about attending one of the “Top 5” music events of February for those of you who couldn’t make it.

MFPicLast Friday Kamrin and I made the trip down to Tampa to see John Mayer perform at the Saint Pete Times Forum. It has been a few years since Mayer headlined a major tour and we were eager to see if he still had the chops to captivate an arena. Though Tampa is a hike for those of us living in the Orlando area it is certainly worth the trip. The Forum is a great venue for concerts and often grabs acts like Mayer that won’t make a stop in O-town. Plus if you get down there early you can sample some of Tampa’s unique restaurants before the show.

Opening for Mayer was Michael Franti and Spearhead, a reggae infused mix of rock and Jack Johnson’ styled beach music. It wasn’t long before they had the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along as Franti roamed the arena. The band is best known for their Top 40 hit “Say Hey (I Love You)” and they closed with this one, accompanied, on stage, by six enthusiastic fans.

JMPicMayer then took the stage to the uproar of screaming fans, kicking things off with the second single from his Battle Studies CD, Heartbreak Warfare. In light of all the paparazzi hoopla about who he is or isn’t dating it was a apropos choice. He went on to play a nice mix of songs from the new album and best known previous hits. Here is the set-list as I recall it: Heartbreak Warfare / Bigger Than My Body / Belief / Perfectly Lonely / Assassin / Waiting on the World to Change / Edge of Desire / Half of My Heart / All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye / No Such Thing / Gravity and for the Encore: Who Says / Friends, Lovers or Nothing.

Mayer made some great asides during the show where we got to see the man behind the music. Several times he mentioned how thankful he was that as fans we’re still filling stadiums to see him play after his long absence. A cool LOL moment came when he grabbed a neon sign from a fan that read “Mayer, I’m your Joshua Tree,” a reference to a naughty comment he made during his recent Rolling Stone’s cover story. He proceeded to doctor up the sign with a permanent marker while providing a tongue in cheek diatribe about how his “Joshua Tree” comment has become an unlikely rallying point for fans, despite its negative reception by the general public.

JMPic2We knew Mayer would put on a great show and he didn’t disappoint. He further endeared himself to the crowd when he changed the lyrics of his Encore song to “It’s been a long night in New York City / It’s been a long night in Tampa, too.” It’s a small thing but it nonetheless rallied the troops for the two song encore. This was only the second stop of the tour and it was clear that he was giving it his all and enjoying every minute of it and so were we.

SO….I hope this has inspired you, dear “Top 5” reader, to venture forth and experience all that Central Florida has to offer, even if it means making the trek to the West coast of our lovely peninsula.

MeIconMedJohn Rife is an ardent champion of Central Florida’s cultural renaissance and shares the stories of the artists, farmers, musicians, small business owners and other pioneers at the heart of this revolution over at his blog A Local Folkus (


Filed under concert, Guest Blogger Extraordinaire, Music, Out of Orlando