Local Concert Preview for Chicago / Milwaukee
March 16-23, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2010, Volume 17, #3
Written by John Metzger
Wed March 17, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
3/18 - Experience Hendrix - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 7:00 p
3/21 - Experience Hendrix - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
These days, successful artists do everything they can to protect their legacies. The performers who emerged before music became a massive, moneymaking enterprise, however, typically had their reputations tarnished by a seemingly endless supply of unsavory products that are designed to capitalize upon their deaths. For a long time, it appeared as if Jimi Hendrix’s catalogue inevitably would become corrupted by the onslaught of inferior albums that were issued in the wake of his premature demise. Beginning in the mid-1990s, though, Experience Hendrix, a corporation founded by the legendary guitarist’s father and now run by his sister Janie, began the painstaking process of undoing the damage that had been done by several decades of neglect. Fifteen years after staging a concert in Seattle to honor Hendrix’s work, the process appears to be complete. Valleys of Neptune, a collection containing 12 previously unreleased nuggets, was issued earlier this month, and the fourth full-fledged Experience Hendrix tour recently kicked into high gear. The entourage’s latest sojourn will stop at the Chicago Theatre on March 18 and Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on March 21. Joe Satriani, Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi, Jonny Lang, Billy Cox, and Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford are among the artists who will perform at both venues.
3/19 - Los Lobos - Hemmens Cultural Center - Elgin - 8:00 p
Fresh from their appearance on the Chicago edition of the Experience Hendrix tour, Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo will rejoin Los Lobos for a concert at Elgin’s Hemmens Cultural Center on March 19. Last fall, the band expanded upon its cover of I Wan’na Be Like You by issuing Los Lobos Goes Disney, a 13-track collection of tunes that were culled from the Disney archives. Throughout the set, Los Lobos alternates between giving the material a distinctive Latin flair (Heigh-Ho, Belle Notte) and delivering it in a straightforward, roots-rock fashion (Oo-De-Lally, The Ugly Bug Ball). As fun as the album might be, it still feels as if the group is stuck in a holding pattern, searching for a way to build upon the rejuvenated tone of its 2006 set The Town and The City. With this in mind, Los Lobos began working on a new effort in February, and a few tunes from the outing very well could be revealed at this acoustic show.
3/19 - Cowboy Junkies - Old Town School - Chicago - 7:00 p & 10:00 p
On its most recent endeavor Trinity Revisited, Cowboy Junkies returned to its roots, essentially by retreating to the church in which it crafted the album that jump-started its career. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the group was conceding the game or acknowledging that its best days lurked somewhere in the past. Instead, the outfit invited a handful of close friends to join the festivities, thereby turning the project into a celebration. Cowboy Junkies’ latest move is a rather ambitious one: In mid-January, the ensemble announced its plans to record and release four efforts over the next 18 months. It’s unlikely that Cowboy Junkies will forsake any of its fans’ favorite songs when it performs at Chicago’s Old Town School on March 19. Given this news, though, the band ought to have plenty of new material to round out its repertoire, too.
3/19 - Norah Jones - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
3/20 - Norah Jones - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
Once her debut Come Away with Me became a massive, crossover hit, Norah Jones began trying to put some distance between herself and the affair. At first, her record label balked at the idea. This, of course, is an understandable reaction, especially considering how much money they both made from the outing. Nevertheless, Jones persevered, largely by diversifying her sound via an array of side projects. With The Little Willies, she dabbled in country; with El Madmo, she thrust herself into edgy rock. Slowly, she began to work these concepts into the albums she was making under her own name. Her latest set The Fall has earned its share of rave reviews, and Jones ought to be commended for her willingness to tamper with a successful formula. Nevertheless, the effort often sounds as if Jones has hedged her bet; she never feels entirely comfortable within her new skin. Her unconvincing appearances last fall on the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show didn’t help matters, either. Hopefully, she will have ironed out the kinks of her approach when she performs at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on March 19 and the Chicago Theatre in Chicago on March 20.
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