Local Concert Preview for Chicago:
August 11-17, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2009, Volume 16, #8
Written by John Metzger
Mon August 10, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
8/11 - Phish - Toyota Park - Chicago - 7:00 p
Seven weeks ago, Phish performed a pair of shows at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin. The band pulled out all of the stops, too, delivering energetic renditions of fan favorites such as You Enjoy Myself, Run Like an Antelope, Runaway Jim, The Divided Sky, and Slave to the Traffic Light. Now that Lollapalooza has left town, Phish will return for a final concert in the region on August 11 at Toyota Park. If the outfit is paying any attention to its set lists, it is quite likely that tracks such Tweezer and Chalk Dust Torture are in the cards. No matter what direction Phish chooses to take, though, attendees of the concert can expect to dance the night away to the playful refrains of what undoubtedly has become its best tour in years.
8/11 - Love/Jerry Miller - Shank Hall - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
8/12 - Love/Jerry Miller - Double Door - Chicago - 8:00 p
It really is unfair: Overlooked for most of his career, The Seeds’ Sky Saxon had the misfortune of passing away on the same day as Michael Jackson. Even so, the California ’66 Revue received an unexpected boost of publicity in the wake of his death. It also gained purpose and meaning. Saxon had been planning to spend several weeks on the road with the Electric Prunes and a new version of Love that was fronted by guitarist Johnny Echols. Originally, the tour was envisioned to be a reminder of the potency as well as the diversity of Los Angeles’ music scene in 1966. Now, it will serve as a roving memorial to Saxon as well as Love’s Arthur Lee, who died three years ago. In a move that further cements this updated perspective, Electric Prunes subsequently dropped off the bill, while Moby Grape’s Jerry Miller was tapped to fill Saxon’s slot in the show.
8/12 - Tracy Chapman - Park West - Chicago - 7:30 p
8/14 - Tracy Chapman - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut provided the perfect antithesis to the sterile, manufactured music of the 1980s. Nevertheless, after the outing’s overwhelming success, her career unfortunately had nowhere to go but down. This, however, is more of a reflection of a fickle marketplace than it is of her talent. After a misguided attempt to translate her commercial appeal into pop superstardom, she wholeheartedly returned to her roots-oriented ways on her aptly titled 1996 endeavor New Beginning. Ever since, she wisely has remained content with chasing her Muse instead of the charts. On her latest set Our Bright Future, Chapman continues to raise social and political issues while also turning her poetic eye toward painting vivid, confessional portraits of life. Considering how much she has gleaned from Joni Mitchell’s canon, it’s somewhat surprising that the outing is the first one she has made with producer Larry Klein at the helm. Regardless, Chapman has a wealth of material from which to choose when she visits Chicago’s Park West on August 12 and Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater on August 14.
8/14 - AC/DC - United Center - Chicago - 7:30 p
AC/DC should have been buried alive after the untimely passing of front man Bon Scott. Yet, after Brian Johnson was tapped to replace him, the group became even more successful and issued two of its most popular outings (Back in Black and For Those about to Rock We Salute You) immediately after Scott’s death. Over the next two decades, each of AC/DC’s albums sold reliably, but the buzz surrounding the outfit began to dwindle. Just when things seemed to have run their course, however, AC/DC came storming back with last year’s Black Ice. Tickets for its current world tour have been gobbled up with enthusiasm. It might seem ridiculous not only that the band still shoots off cannons from the stage, but also that Angus Young routinely prances around like a teenager without a shirt while ripping blistering guitar solos. Then again, AC/DC essentially is a cruder, harder-edged rendition of the Rolling Stones. Anyone who buys into the act likely will go home happy after the outfit’s performance on August 14 at the United Center. Over the years, many poseurs have surfaced, but none of them have been able to topple AC/DC from its perch.
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