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John Waite/Sponge Rockin' on the Riverfront Review (Words: Sue Static; Photos: Peter Schorn)

The 2012 Chevrolet Rockin' on the Riverfront series launched on Friday, July 13th with a rockin' night of music and it's off to a strong start!

Motor City rockers Sponge kicked off the series in fine form. They began their set with a bang by playing their old hits "Wax Ecstatic" and "Molly" right off the bat, not saving them for last as you'd expect. Frontman Vinnie Dombroski commandeered the stage insisting the crowd to get up off their seats and sing along to the songs. He ventured out into the crowd during their biggest hit "Plowed" and sang to the cheap seats in the back. Fox 2 reporter Rob "Hall of Shame" Wolchek joined the band in the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" as they expressed their gratitude for his assistance getting some satisfaction regarding a damaged guitar.

During the finale of "Planet Girls," off their third album "New Pop Sunday," the singer was joined by two agile dancers from Pole Fitness who worked their expertise on a pole onstage while he invited some women from the crowd onstage to dance alongside him, much to the delight of the male audience members. With a catalog of seven albums to their credit, Sponge is one of Detroit's finest rock acts that can still rock the house mightily!

Having to follow Sponge's powerful set was not an easy task, but '80s pop rocker John Waite rose to the challenge and delivered a rollicking set of his classic radio hits. The British crooner seemed to still enjoy singing his many hit ballads and even introduced a mixed up version of his solo hit "Change." The singer was grateful to the local fans and program director Doug Podell who helped break him here back in his pre-solo days with The Babys. He even played some of The Babys' hits for the longtime fans in the crowd including their first hit song "Isn't it Time," "Head First," and a different version of "Midnight Rendezvous." With a younger back-up band accompanying him, Waite entertained the classic rock concertgoers who came out to rock on the riverfront on this lovely summer evening in the city before heading back to the 'burbs.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the Summer concerts that are on deck for the Rockin on the Riverfront series. The stage is located directly behind the Ren Cen Winter Garden and parking is available for $5 at the GM lot located nearby and is accessible by the Riverwalk. The shows are FREE and seating is on a first-come basis. VIP wristbands are also available for purchase for seating close to the stage, though you can get as close along the low side barricades.

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The upcoming concerts in the series start at 7:30 pm on the following Fridays:

July 20: Starship with guests Solid State --- Tell them we built THIS city on Rock 'n Roll!
July 27: Ace Frehley the legendary KISS guitarist --- will take you on a Rocket Ride with his New York Groove!
Aug. 3: Lou Gramm of Foreigner --- He wants to know what love is, so go show him!!
Aug. 10: The Sweet & The Tubes (featuring Fee Waybill) ---- Are you ready? It's it's a Ballroom Blitz!!
Aug. 17: Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad with special guest Marshall Crenshaw — Find Someway, today to make it to this show! It'll be Some Kind of Wonderful!