A warm and humid SoCal summer night set the stage for a musical extravaganza at the Pacific Amphitheater, as three legendary bands took the spotlight and left the audience craving more. The atmosphere was electric, buzzing with anticipation as fans eagerly awaited a night of unforgettable performances.
Save Ferris and The English Beat got the party started paving the way for the iconic LA punk band X.
Kicking off the evening was the Orange County darlings, Save Ferris. The stage was set, the lights dimmed, and a wave of anticipation washed over the eager crowd as they waited for the iconic ska band, Save Ferris, to take the stage. And when they did, it was like a time warp back to the ’90s, as the band kicked off their performance with a bang.
From the very first notes of their opening song, “Turn It Up,” the energy in the Pacific Amphitheater soared. Lead singer Monique Powell burst onto the stage with her unmistakable voice, bright hair, and bombshell outfit, instantly captivating the audience with her charisma and infectious enthusiasm.
Save Ferris treated their fans to a well-curated setlist, blending their hits with a few classic covers. The crowd roared with delight as they launched into fan-favorites like “Superspy” and “Goodbye,” with the entire venue singing along in unison. A great surprise was the inclusion of their cover of another iconic local band. Powell introduced “Santaria” by Sublime, stating that “after ‘Come On Eileen’ Save Ferris would never do another cover. And now we have another hit song.” The cover land extremely well with the crowd who sang along with glee.
The band’s tight-knit musicianship was on full display as they flawlessly transitioned between genres, infusing elements of ska, punk, and reggae into their music. The horn section added an extra layer of pizazz to the mix, enhancing the band’s signature sound and transporting everyone back to the ska heyday.
One of the concert’s highlights was the powerful rendition of “Mistaken,” where Powell’s heartfelt vocals tugged at the heartstrings of everyone present. The band’s ability to evoke powerful emotions through their music demonstrated their profound connection with their loyal fanbase.
Throughout the performance, Powell effortlessly engaged the audience, cracking jokes, and sharing anecdotes between songs. Her infectious personality had everyone laughing and clapping along. At one point, she joked with a family who had a baby in the crowd demanding to know why the baby wasn’t clapping along, creating an unforgettable moment of levity.
As the set progressed, the energy only intensified. The amphitheater turned into a lively skanking dance floor, with fans of all ages jumping and grooving to the beat. Save Ferris had an uncanny ability to transcend time, resonating equally with the nostalgic older fans and newcomers discovering the band’s legacy.
The grand finale was none other than their hit cover of “Come on Eileen,” which had the entire venue exploding with excitement. Powell led the crowd in an exhilarating sing-along, and the band closed the show with a spectacular flourish, leaving everyone craving more.
The English Beat
Next up was the ever-soulful The English Beat, a band that has mastered the art of blending ska, reggae, and new wave into a unique sonic experience. The band’s cool and laid-back vibe instantly captivated the crowd, and lead vocalist Dave Wakeling’s soulful voice resonated beautifully throughout the amphitheater.
Dave Wakeling, the band’s charismatic frontman, commanded the stage with an energy that belied the years since The English Beat’s inception. His distinctive voice carried the same infectious power as it did back in the ’80s, captivating both long-time fans and a new generation of ska enthusiasts. The chemistry among the band members was palpable, as they seamlessly melded their instruments into a harmonious sonic explosion.
The English Beat’s setlist was a carefully crafted journey through their illustrious career. Hits like “Save It for Later” and “Tenderness” ignited the crowd, transporting them back to the heyday of the Two-Tone movement. The skanking beats and irresistible horn arrangements had the entire audience on their feet, dancing in unison with abandon.
Wakeling’s stage presence was unparalleled, engaging the crowd with witty banter and endearing stories between songs. His genuine connection with the audience created an intimate atmosphere, making every person in the venue feel like they were part of an exclusive ska club.
Throughout the night, the band seamlessly blended their ska roots with elements of reggae, punk, and soul, showcasing the diversity of their musical influences. Their dynamic ability to switch between genres left the crowd in awe, as they reveled in the eclectic sounds that define The English Beat’s unique style.
One of the standout moments of the concert was when the band performed “Mirror in the Bathroom,” a deeply emotive song that showcased Wakeling’s vocal prowess. The soul-stirring lyrics and heartfelt delivery left the audience mesmerized, giving everyone a moment of introspection amidst the euphoria of the ska party.
In conclusion, The English Beat’s set was a timeless revival of ska that transcended generations. Dave Wakeling and his bandmates delivered an unforgettable live experience that paid homage to their iconic discography while remaining ever-relevant in the contemporary music scene. As the final notes echoed in the air, it was evident that The English Beat’s spirit and passion for ska music continue to thrive, leaving an indelible mark on all who were lucky enough to be part of this unforgettable night.
From the first electrifying chords that pierced the air, X’s punk spirit roared to life on the stage at the Pacific Amphitheater. With an energy that felt as raw and revolutionary as it did when they burst onto the scene in the late ’70s, this legendary punk band proved that the fire of rebellion burns as bright as ever.
Fronted by the enigmatic Exene Cervenka and the intense John Doe, X took the audience on a journey through their iconic discography, fearlessly blending punk rock with elements of rockabilly and Americana. The chemistry between Cervenka and Doe remains electric, with their voices intertwining in a fervent call-and-response that echoed through the venue.
As the house lights went down and the band hit the stage, they opened with deeper cuts “Water and Wine”, “The House That I Will Call Home”, and “Desperate” before launching into the legendary signature anthem, “Los Angeles”. The song capturing the essence of the band’s hometown’s grit and attitude. The crowd erupted, chanting along to every word, as the band’s relentless energy seized hold of the venue.
With Billy Zoom’s blistering guitar riffs and DJ Bonebrake’s relentless drumming, X’s musicianship was as tight and explosive as ever. Each song felt like a sonic onslaught, transporting the audience to the heyday of the punk movement while infusing a modern urgency that resonated deeply with both longtime fans and new converts.
Exene’s hauntingly distinct voice took center stage on tracks like “White Girl” and “Nausea,” as she delivered poignant lyrics with a mix of vulnerability and defiance. John Doe’s emotive vocals, on the other hand, commanded attention during anthems like “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” and “Hungry Wolf,” evoking an unapologetic rebellion that stirred something deep within the crowd.
Midway through the set, the band launched into “Breathless,” with Cervenka’s poetic lyricism flowing like a stream of consciousness. The audience stood in awe as the performance transcended mere music, taking on an almost spiritual quality that bound everyone together in a shared punk pilgrimage.
As the night culminated in a frenzied encore, X gifted the crowd with an explosive rendition of “Soul Kitchen” by The Doors, paying homage to the band’s diverse musical influences. The energy in the venue reached a fever pitch, rekindling the flames of punk’s rebellious spirit.
The Pacific Amphitheater at the Orange County Fair witnessed an unforgettable concert, where
Save Ferris and The English Beat set the stage ablaze, and X ignited a punk rock inferno that will be remembered for a long time.
The spirit of punk, ska, and reggae converged in a sonic spectacle that transported the audience to a place where time stood still, and the magic of music reigned supreme.