Festival Season in Chicago is in complete, full-on swing. To my knowledge, there were at least five major happenings in the city this weekend. Tim and I decided to grace the Chicago Blues Festival (www.explorechicago.org) with our presence this evening. Also, we decided it would be a good way to celebrate our anniversary a few days early. We were only at the Blues Festival for about four hours or so but guess what? It was amazing. The Chicago Blues Festival has no admission fee, it is part of the free festival program. Pretty incredible, huh? We only spent $9.00 - the train fare for both of us there and back. I thought about drinking at the Festival but then the realization of port-a-johns and summer humidity took away my craving for a beer or mojito. Uff da. Anyhow - here was today’s line-up:
I was quite excited to finally see Mavis Staples live!
We headed over to the Pepsi Front Porch stage to see Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang.
These boys knew how to rock out some damn fine Blues! There was even a sax player for some songs - much to Tim’s delight.
Blues Sax makes this boy happy! Let’s face it, live blues makes both of us happy.
I also enjoy the People Watching Factor of free festivals. You see all kinds.
You see the quintessential pony-tailed, middle-aged dudes, jammin’ and swayin’ to the music.
You also see people that you wish you could be. I wish Tim and I could be this damn funky some day. This couple is extraordinary.
After that set, we headed over to the Petrillo Music Shell to see the headlining show of the evening: ‘Celebrating Women in the Blues: Tribute to Koko Taylor’.
Tim and I found a fairly ideal spot in front of these flags: America, Blues Patrol and Chicago - in that glorious order:
We spread out the ol’ Phish blanket and enjoyed our beautiful city on this beautiful day listening to this phenomenal music. These shoes have been to a lot of concerts, cities and countries! Oh - Tim took his shoes and socks off. At one point he was reclining on his back, with his left foot resting up on his right knee. Some woman walked by and tickled his foot as she passed. It was hilarious! It startled the hell out of Tim. She was giggling and Tim just exclaimed, “Come on, Now!“ She turned around to laugh more. I laughed with her. Pretty funny.
This is one of the vocalists of the evening and the new lady I would like to model myself after. Her voice was dynamite and she took the stage like no other. I had never heard of her or seen her before tonight. I was totally blown away by her. This is Nora Jean Brusco. Daaaa-yaammmmn!
All of these ladies sang a few songs before Mavis came out - well, all of them except the woman in red; the woman in red is Koko Taylor’s daughter, Cookie Taylor. Tonight’s show was in honor and celebration of Koko Taylor and these women were backed up by Koko’s band: The Koko Taylor Blues Machine Band. Hot blues. Incredible.
You could watch the stage, the screen or the sunset against our beautiful cityscape. Chicago in the summertime is truly phenomenal. It was great to be downtown tonight.
The Lady of the Festival: Dr. Mavis Staples. She sang a lot, she also talked a lot. Her family is steeped in the Civil Rights Movement and the Gospel so there was a lot of gospel and blues from her. It was wonderful. She also covered ‘The Weight’ by The Band (all the white people in the crowd went crazy over that) and did a song off of her album that was produced by Jeff Tweedy (from Wilco, also one of my personal favorites). She also sang one of my favorite blues duets ‘We’re Gonna Make It’ - picks your spirits up when you’re blue… And, of course, she closed with ‘I’ll Take You There’. It was quite a perfect Sunday night.
These ding-a-love-a-ding-dongs were pleased with their choice to not only go to the Chicago Blues Festival but to marry each other, as well. ‘I’ve got your love and you know you’ve got mine. We’re gonna make. I know we will...’
Good Night, Sweet Home, Chicago!