’80s rockers reunite on Egyptian stage

DeKALB – John Waite doesn’t believe in theatrics – at least not on a musical stage.

“The show should be driven by the music,” the former lead singer of the Babys and Bad English said in a phone interview last week. “I try to eliminate all the other stuff that doesn’t matter. I try to keep it as transparent as it can be. ...I can’t stand any of that special effects stuff. If you want to see a show, go to Broadway.”

Waite and rock group Survivor will perform on May 17 at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb. Although VIP packages are sold out, good tickets are still available.

Waite, who was born in Lancaster, England, is probably best known for “Missing You” and “Every Time I Think of You.” Survivor, which formed in Chicago in 1978, had its biggest hit with “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song for the 1982 movie “Rocky III.”

“This is a unique night for our stage,” said Heather Carr, marketing manager of the Egyptian. “We wanted to bring out two different sets of fans.”

Not only will local fans be the first to see the two original lead singers of Survivor, Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison, together, Carr said they will see the two acts reunited for the first time in at least 10 years. “They have performed together,” she said. “Just not here.”

If Waite had his way, he would perform all the time, wherever he could. He was poised to go on “a fairly big tour” two years ago that didn’t pan out, he said.

“With the economy being what it is, you can play for three months during the summer and that’s about it,” he said. “I just love to play. The live thing is more important to me than anything else.”

Waite’s road manager, Tim Hogan, said the DeKalb show is the second this weekend. It is part of a “neverending tour” to promote Waite’s not-yet-released live album, “John Waite All Access.”

For Waite, it doesn’t matter if his three-member band performs in a large venue or a smaller one, like the 1,400-seat Egyptian.

“You play everywhere,” he laughed. “It’s hysterical. There’s no plan. You play to 10,000 one night and then 300 the next in a small club, like the Stones do. It’s great. I love the fact you can swing from one place to the other. I believe that gives you credibility.”

Although Waite said he’ll play fan favorites at the beginning and end of his set, other songs vary from night to night. “There are about 500 songs (to choose from),” he said. “We ripped into a (Bob) Dylan song the other night. It depends what we’re listening to backstage.”

John Waite and Survivor

7:30 p.m. May 17

The Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St., DeKalb

Tickets are $39.50 to $49.50 and are available at or the theater box office.

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