Live Music-other, Chicago
Last visit June 2014
First Merit Bank Pavilion (formerly Charter One) at Northerly Island was totally reconfigured between my last visit and my most recent visit in June 2014. The location of the stage and seat configuration changed and they added lawn seats which got off to a bad start with a couple of very muddy shows. If it's raining, the show still goes on unless there is lightning. There's a very strict curfew of 11pm, if you haven't heard your band's favorite song and it's 11pm, expect to be disappointed like the Backstreet Boys' fans in 2013.
On a cool summer evening though, this might be the ideal venue, you get a nice breeze from Lake Michigan, a beautiful view of Soldier Field lit up in the evening, a view of the Chicago Skyline.
Since our 1st visit, the seats have been reconfigured and face away from the Lake, we had tickets in Section 206 in row G that I got at a discount from Goldstar, I watched most of the show on the jumbotrons that flank the stage as the band was just too far away and Tommy Shaw of Styx too short. None of the seats are covered in the 100 or 200 sections, I think the 300 section seats are since they are grandstand seating. The 100 section seats are blocked off by beefy security guards so you can't advance forward even if there are empty seats. I'm not sure if they are using the lawn seating for every show, maybe just the ones that draw huge crowds like Jimmy Buffett and Phish.
You can't bring in outside alcohol and the website offers confusing information on whether you can bring in any other food or beverage. There's plenty for sale at the venue at outrageously inflated prices, $11 for a tall boy beer and I'm guessing even higher prices on the fruity alcoholic drinks.
Skip the $30 VIP parking, it's either a short walk or a short trolley ride from the parking garage in the North Garage at Soldier Field which is included with every ticket purchase. You can even take a pedicab if you want to pay for it. The garage is located on Museum Campus Drive with a second entrance from McFetridge Drive. Getting out after the show was a lot quicker than I expected.
Dress Code: Dress for the weather, if it looks like rain, bring a rain coat or hope you get lucky and score one of the cool Charter One rain ponchos. It's close to the Lake so the shows earlier in the season will be cooler, later in the season warmer, than the temps out in the suburbs or away from the Lake
We went to the City Winery to see a show, not for wine or dinner which I suppose is the whole concept. But I read a bunch of Yelp reviews and a couple of critic reviews before going and decided to eat before I left home. The show we saw was Matthew Sweet on his 20th anniversary of "Girlfriend" tour, most of the music is rock/pop and I don't know that this is the right kind of venue for that kind of music. On the other hand most of his original fans are probably pushing 50 so in terms of that, maybe it wasn't such a bad choice as most didn't appear to be able or want to stand for an hour or more. The only time people stood was at the end when he was done with his set and before the encore.
The sound was pretty bad for the opening acts as people continued talking and the noise bounces off the walls, sounds like bees buzzing. For the main act the sound wasn't bad and while the seating at tables is a little odd for a musical show, the seats we bought were pretty good, in the 1st section of premier seats at the last table on the right side. We shared a table with another couple of people but because we were on the end they sat away from the table and we had plenty of space. You have to sit a little sideways because of the angle of the table. The sight line was really good. What I can't figure out is why anyone would want to pay more money to sit back in the VIP section which is all the way at the back of the venue
I did see some of the food, it didn't look bad but it also didn't look exceptional and you are on Randolph Street where all the current hot restaurants are. Found a free parking spot, they also do valet. Most of the Randolph restaurants are not really within walking distance, this area of Randolph is still developing. We only ordered one drink but our waiter came around quite often. For non wine drinkers, there was a small selection or beer and I think I saw some people with mixed drinks but it appeared that you had to go to the bar yourself for those?
Crocodile Lounge is located in the hip area of Chicago a.k.a Wicker Park. Crocodile Lounge is a place where loads is happening, even on a Sunday night: hip-hop open mics, rap battles, live music of all genres, freelance artists working on their paintings/artworks... They make great drinks too (including cotton candy fishbowls!). And, for every drink you order, you get one slice of hot pizza!
Dress Code: Hip! People who go to Crocodile lounge are really fashionable.
The Park West shows premium quality concerts located just north of downtown Chicago. I have been to the Park West several times and I've never been disappointed. Check out their website to find out what's playing when you come to town!
Dress Code: Smart-casual is best. Anything is really fine, but most people are dressed up a little more than just casual.
Famed for the stomping grounds of the Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen) and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, the United Center is a HUGE venue also sponsoring concerts (Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, AC/DC, and Green Day are upcoming shows) and comedians (I recently attended the Dane Cook show here which looked nearly sold out).
Walking out of the arena at night affords a fantastic straight shot view down Adams Street to Sears Tower.
It's amazing how easy it is to get to!
Photos: June 14, 2008
Dress Code: Casual
On Friday, May 9, my husband Allan and I were lucky enough to have tickets to see the wonderful Dolly Parton at the Chicago theater. Her show was so much fun; she is down-to-earth, very funny, and such a talent.
It was the first time that I had been inside the Chicago Theater. I was certainly impressed. The building [called the Page Brothers Building] itself is seven stories tall. I was quite surprised to see a circular Tiffany stained glass window inside the arch. When you stand across the street, you notice that this building has off-white terra cotta...but, it's the interior that really stands out in my memory. There is a French Baroque influence. The main lobby is five stories high and is surrounded by gallery promenades [mezzanine and balcony levels]. The grand staircase is supposedly patterned after the one inside the Paris Opera House.
I especially liked the crystal chandeliers and the bronze light fixtures [with Steuben glass shades].
The marquee is quite famous...kind of a landmark in Chicago. It was replaced in 1994, but looks exactly like its predecessor. I learned that the first [original] marquee was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.
Even if you've never been to Chicago, no doubt you have seen this famed marquee in numerous movie and TV shows that are set in Chicago. One of the most famous times that it was featured in a movie was when its neon font was used in the title of the 2002 musical, "Chicago". Until this Friday, I had no idea that there is a "Y-shaped figure behind the horizontal word 'Chicago' on the State Street side of the marquee, a city symbol which represents the Chicago River."
This theater was originally an opulent motion picture house. It was constructed in 1921 in the classical revival-French Baroque style, and is now the oldest building that has survived as an example of this style of architecture in Chicago. It was modernized in the 1950, and during the 1970s, it started to decline. In 1985 it closed., but in 1986, the Chicago Theatre Restoration Associates and the City of Chicago bought it, which saved it from demolition. For 8 nine months, a multi-million dollar restoration took place. It then reopened in 1986 with a grand performance by Frank Sinatra. Thank Goodness it was saved!
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and named a Chicago Landmark in 1983.
I've seen some great concerts in my life:
*The Pixies at the Lexington Ballroom shortly before they opened for U2 on their Zooropa Tour.
*Jane's Addiction & The Rollins Band in Huntington the spring before they started their first ever Lollapalooza gigs.
*PiL (fronted by ex-Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten AKA John Lydon) opening for INXS at Louisville Gardens.
*They Might Be Giants here in Cincinnati at Bogart's. They did the theme song to Malcolm in the Middle and is credited with being Steven Spielberg's favorite band.
but I'd honestly have to say that THIS, The Pogues concert at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago was far & above THE BEST CONCERT I've ever been to!
*Pogue Mahone means kiss me arse and was the band's original name; however, the radio stations in Ireland wouldn't play their songs due to the name so they changed it to the more palatable The Pogues. BTW, some of their concert t-shirts bear their original name and, of course, I picked one up for myself!
I was in the front row of the mosh pit (festival seating) just to the right of center. Shane McGowan appeared appropriately drunk; someone behind me said he'd read in an interview that Shane reckoned he hadn't been sober since the age of 14! Imagine that!! Yet for all his drinking on stage he managed to remember all the lyrics. Only once was he a hair offbeat but managed to pick up the pace with the rest of the band.
Shane would leave the stage occasionally and come back with what appeared to be a fresh drink and a cigarette while one of the other band members such as Spider or Phil filling in on various songs.
There were 8 musicians on stage: drummer, banjo, accordianist, bass, guitar, Spider Stacy on the tin whistle, probably a mandolin or a dulcimer - absolutely fantastic musicians these gents.
Photos: March 6, 2008
Dress Code: Concert wear, particularly all black, anything punk as The Pogues are an Irish folk-punk band!
This is a great, decrepit venue for punk or alternative bands such as The Pogues or the Ike Reilly Assassination. The hall has a tattered feel to it, something out of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher".
Tickets to see The Pogues were around $40, definitely reasonable.
Oh, and see the last photo - one of the hunkiest security guys I've ever seen - a Jake Gyllenhaal lookalike. I felt like a lucky girl indeed!
Photos: March 6, 2008
Dress Code: Whatever you wear to a concert, baby!
I've seen quite a few shows at the House of Blues in Chicago, most recently last night when Sister Hazel was making their annual December appearance in Chicago. It's one of the nicer concert venues in Chicago and the most centrally located, right in the heart of the tourist district. "Seating" is general admission and standing room only unless you happen to be some sort of VIP and get into one of the opera boxes. The doors typically open about 1 1/2 hours before showtime. The venue holds 1,500 people, all of whom seemed to be crunched onto the rather small section in front of the stage. The acoustics are decent and not so loud that you suffer temporary or permanent hearing loss.
If you are looking to eat before the show, the closest ones would be Harry Caray's, the House of Blues' own restaurant (I understand you don't have to wait in line to get it if you eat there) and Bin 36 but there are dozens of places within walking distance, we ate at Brasserie Jo
Dress Code: None
If it's winter and you have a coat, they do have a $5 coat check or if you park close enough, brave the elements and leave it in the car . Wear good shoes, you will be standing a long time. And don't overdress, it gets really warm in there.
If there's Salsa in a city, you know I'll find it. I enjoyed this sheik, upscale Salsa spot. We caught a cab from the hotel and had a great time! They had a few good male dancers too and a really good live orchesta
Dress Code: Salsa attire. Nothing street casual.
This venue is closed looking for a new home.
TRY these two places for your world music fix.....
Chicago Cultural Center. The city of Chicago's center for the performing arts. Its programming features world music, jazz and other genres. Address: 78 E. Washington St., Chicago, Illinois 60602. Phone: +1 (312) 346-3278. E-mail: email@example.com
Also try The Old Town School Of Folk Music teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities.
4544 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625. Phone: +1 773-728-6000
the center for the international performance and exibition.
I have seen music and dancing from all over the world in this place and never been dissapointed. A not for profit venue that promotes artists of all music styles from all over the globe. Beautiful romantic room with a small seating capacity, there are no bad seats here and the ticket prices are very fair and affordable (15-35 or sometimes free). Great place for a date or to mingle with a great international crowd. Don't miss the holiday fair in December for your Christmas shopping from around the world as well. Shows sell out fast. You can order tickets on line or by calling the box office ((312) 362.9707 )
Full bar, no Food, parking around the corner on Wabash or accross the street from the venue on Balbo
For More info click on the link below
Dress Code: What ever you are comfortable in, you will always fit in.
As soon as we walked into Davenport's we started chatting with a regular there whose partner is one of the regular performers. Shortly after that, the performer for that evening came to our table to greet us since he didn't recognize us as regulars. Wow. What a friendly place!
We had a great time there made new friends and sang along with the songs. What fun, huh?
Dress Code: Casual, fun or funky. Go as you feel!
Venus is a Cypriot restaurant (see my restaurant tip), but on Friday and Saturday nights there is a live Greek band. It is much nicer than Byzantium and not clubby and stuck-up like 9 Muses. If you are looking for something different in the form of Greek nightlife and want something more classy, this place will not disappoint.
Lately, Saturday nights have been better. You can stay until 3am, dance, eat some great food, drink, listen to music, or sit and enjoy yourself with friends in a comfortable atmosphere. Friday nights are open until 2am.
Free valet parking is available.
Dress Code: Casual to dressy. Jeans are fine.
Byzantium is a Greek nightclub in Greektown. It tries to emulate what you might find in Greece. Explaining it to you is a little complicated, so to make it easy, on a good night its good, on a bad night its terrible.
On a regular Friday or Saturday night you will hear live Greek music. On summer nights, it is usually better and gets crowded earlier. The windows in the front are opened and give it a better atmosphere. The club usually starts shutting down around 4:30 or 5 AM on a good night, earlier on a slow night.
Byzantium also holds special nights. Serbian/Greek/Macedonian nights occur about one or two Fridays a month, and one Friday a month there is usually a Bulgarian night.
Dress Code: No sneakers. Casual is fine but many dress to impress. On mosts nights there is a cover charge, either $5 or $7.
After a much ballyhooed renovation that gobbled up some of the surrounding area, the home of the Chicago Symphony has broadened its reach., adding jazz and other more popular attractions to the mix.
It remains the home of the famed Chicago Symphony Orchestra.