Local Concert Preview for Chicago:
August 25-September 7, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2009, Volume 16, #8
Written by John Metzger
Tue August 25, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
8/28 - Little Feat - Old Town School - Chicago - 7:00 p & 10:00 p
In the midst of a tour designed to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Little Feat will perform two shows at Chicagoís prestigious Old Town School of Folk Music on August 28. Considering that the groupís founder Lowell George passed away in 1979, shortly after he disbanded the outfit to begin a solo career, itís safe to say that this is quite an accomplishment. Eight years after his death, Little Featís surviving members reconvened, with help from multi-instrumentalist Fred Tackett. Theyíve been making the rounds ever since. None of Little Featís modern-day albums have come close to matching the excellence of its classic relics from the 1970s ó most notably, Dixie Chicken and Sailiní Shoes. In concert, however, the band remains a dominating force, capable of whirling through genres from blues to country to New Orleans-baked R&B without skipping a beat. Naturally, fans still come to hear the early material, largely because the ensemble never fails to recapture the energy it demonstrated on Waiting for Columbus.
8/28-29 - Nine Inch Nails - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 7:30 p
Twenty years after issuing Pretty Hate Machine, Nine Inch Nails is calling it quits. To say farewell to its fans, the outfit lined up a short series of shows in small clubs, including a two-night engagement at Chicagoís Aragon Ballroom on August 28 and 29. Not surprisingly, the concerts were immediate sellouts. It is highly likely that Trent Reznor, the outfitís guiding force, will resurrect Nine Inch Nails somewhere down the road. For now, though, it looks as if he will disappear for a while as he plots a worthwhile follow-up to last yearís elaborately staged Lights in the Sky tour. Reznor had planned to retire Nine Inch Nails after its recently completed slate of appearances with Janeís Addiction, but the lucrative possibilities combined with a desire to deliver a few lengthy, unscripted, career-spanning performances understandably were too enticing to ignore.
8/31, 9/1, 9/3, 9/4 - Steely Dan - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker once had a strong dislike for touring. These days, however, it has become their bread and butter. Since reconvening in 1993, Steely Dan has spent more time on the road than it has in the studio. Part of the reason for this may be that the group commands premium prices at the box office, making its engagements highly lucrative for the duo. It also likely helps that Fagen and Becker finally seem to have found a supporting cast that can replicate Steely Danís complex arrangements to their satisfaction in a concert setting. With no new material in sight ó Becker inexplicably has opted to avoid turning the songs from his recent set Circus Money over to the outfit ó Steely Dan is taking a retrospective approach to its latest sojourn. Essentially, Fagen and Becker are revisiting the albums that were issued when they werenít performing live. To this end, Steely Dan will settle into the Chicago Theatre for four nights in late August and early September. The ensembleís appearance on August 31 will be devoted to Aja, while Gaucho and The Royal Scam will be tackled by the collective on September 1 and September 3, respectively. September 4, the final evening, will follow a script that has been selected by Steely Danís fans.
9/1-2 - Allman Brothers Band / Widespread Panic - Charter One Pavilion - Chicago - 6:00 p
Despite facing its share of tragedy ó the premature deaths of Duane Allman, Berry Oakley, and Allen Woody; the problematic behavior of Dickey Betts; and Gregg Allmanís recent health scare ó the Allman Brothers Band has always managed to find ways of weathering the storms that have threatened to sink its ship. Through it all, the group miraculously has grown stronger, too. With guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band has tossed aside most of the country-tinged material of the Betts era and reinvested in the forceful fusion of gospel, soul, blues, and jazz that dominated its early years. This past spring, the outfit resumed its annual extended residency at the New York Cityís Beacon Theater, where, over the course of its 15-night engagement, the ensemble ran through 100 songs from its 40-year career with the help of an abundance of special guests, including Widespread Panicís Jimmy Herring and John Bell. This summer, with Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers Band has taken the party on the road for a series of shows, including a pair of concerts at Chicagoís Charter One Pavilion on September 1 and 2. Itís safe to say that this is a must-see event.
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