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On November 30th Rocks the Cure, a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for Pediatric Cancer, held a concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, FL. The organization stages musical events rather than black-tie dinners for their fundraisers. This event was headlined by the popular 90’s rock group Better Than Ezra.

The event started just before 7:30 with members of the organization explaining their mission and sharing some success stories of children that have been helped through their fundraising activities. There were many cancer survivors in attendance and they shared a heartwarming story of one young man that was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 12, but who won his fight with the disease.

Opening up for BTE was the driving force behind Rocks the Cure, The Outpatients. An alternative rock band based out of Tampa, Florida, their mix of original and cover songs was a huge hit with the attendees. This seven-member band had a great sound, and a lot of energy that got the crowd excited and warmed up for the headliner. Some of the highlights from their performance were renditions of Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, and Train hits from the 90’s.

Better than Ezra hit the stage at about 9pm to a large ovation from the full house at Jannus Live. They started out with “Misunderstood” a song off their album Closer from 2001. From there they went into the first of several “mash-ups” of popular songs from the last few decades. The third song was a favorite of mine, “Breakdown” by Tom Petty, which got the entire audience singing and was a highlight of the night with Tom Petty being from just up the road. He may no longer be with us, but he lives on through his great music.

The middle of their setlist was the highlight for me being a fan of their 90’s work. The 11th song they played was “Good”, which is arguably their biggest hit. It is off their 1993 album Deluxe that went Platinum in the United States. Then the 13th song was “Desperately Wanting” from their 1996 album, Friction, Baby. Both of these songs were sung along by everyone in attendance, and it sent nostalgic goosebumps down my spine.

The show concluded with a triple cover ending to the main set including “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure, a mash-up of “Tainted Love, Baby Baby, and I Melt With You”, and then finished off with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. If that wasn’t enough they played a four song Encore that finished with their 1996 hit “King of New Orleans”.

A great night of music for a great cause, and the crowd seemed to have a great time. I know I am looking forward to more events from Rocks the Cure in the future! Learn more at https://rocksthecure.org/

Healing through music…When Music Therapy is used in childhood cancer it aims to stimulate communication as well as reduce symptoms associated with treatment such as pain, anxiety, mood disturbance and depression. It can also help children better cope with hospitalization and rehabilitation.

Photos and review by Matthew Chase