Thursday, July 17, 2014
July 13, 2014 Taste Of Chicago with Aloe Blacc and The Wailers (Concert #28)
I had planned on seeing Wilco and Lucinda Williams on Saturday at Taste of Chicago and if I was feeling up to it, return on Sunday to see Aloe Blacc and The Wailers. Since Mother Nature dumped 5 inches of rain on Grant Park Saturday morning, the city of big shoulders decided to cancel Taste of Chicago about noon on Saturday. When I found out about 2:30pm, I decided to definitely see Aloe Blacc on Sunday. I got a last minute ride to the Hegewisch South Shore station from my sister-in-law. Thanks Kimmy. I got a new pocket camera so I tested it out waiting for the train.
The Taste of Chicago started out as a good idea but over the years the city fucked it up. Some of the restaurants sell food at the Taste that is not even on their menu. It became a money grab not a food event. Big shock to those of us that pay attention to what happens in this city. I haven't been to Taste of Chicago for the food in many years because the whole event sucks. The city finally agreed with me because a few years ago they shrunk the amount of vendors and the number of days for this crappy festival. That said, the music at this Festival always features great bands. So I settled into my seat to relax on a warm summer day and listen to Bob Marley's backing band, The Wailers.
Once the band began playing fantastic versions of Bob Marley's biggest hits, the relaxing part was easy due to the great reggae music, the beers and ganja smoke all around me.
They had everyone singing along to "Is This Love", "Jamming", "One Love"....
"Could You Be Loved", "Stir It Up" and "Buffalo Soldier".
They sounded great. This was just what I needed after a long work week. Sunshine, reggae music, singing and dancing all around me..."Positive Vibrations" indeed. The band had uplifting messages in between songs and musically with the songs. A theme that continued with the very talented Aloe Blacc.
Mr. Blacc has mastered being a performer as well as a talented musician and songwriter. I can not say enough about his performance today. He told stories about his life, he explained how he wrote several of the songs, he had everyone dancing down the aisles like they used to on Soul Train and he continued the positive vibes left on the stage by The Wailers. His band, The Grand Scheme, were just as talented. They sounded note perfect all evening. The mix of old school soul mixed with an updated R&B sound that included inspirational messages from Aloe Blacc about life and how to find the good in the world was a perfect way for me to spend a Sunday.
A little side story about my day. After taking the train to the city. I walked up Michigan Avenue which was packed with tourists. It was fun to see people excited about Chicago and the beautiful weather at least for today. So I'm feeling pretty good while I stroll around Grant Park. I grab a beer and a grilled shrimp po'boy from Savoy at Taste of Chicago and sit down at one of the picnic tables on Jackson Blvd. A few minutes later an older lady that I thought might be homeless sat with me. She had BBQ rib tips from one of the vendors. We talked while eating about the weather, the food and the city. When I told her I was heading to the Petrillo Bandshell for the concert, she said she heard if the seats don't sell out that they would let people in for free. I told her that she should try to see Aloe Blacc because he is really good. Then I wished her luck with getting into the seating area. About half way through Aloe Blacc's set, he begins to talk about about the old soul music...his band played a snippet of Hall & Oates' "Maneater" while Aloe sang along...then they stopped at the chorus and the crowd sang aloud "Oh Oh Here She Comes She's a Maneater"...Aloe started laughing and said "There's a lot of old people here today". Then he asked if everyone remembered Soul Train and how they danced down the aisles. He asked everyone to dance down the aisles while the band played a funky jam...lots of people did including the lady I ate lunch with earlier today... she obviously got in for free. I saw her after the show and she had a huge smile on her face...so did I...she told me she loved that young man and asked me his name again...she walked saying "He was damn good". I agreed.
I love a good horn section.
For the encores he played a sultry, dirty Mississippi blues version of "Billie Jean" and followed it up with a slow burning soul version of California Dreamin' for the first verse that turning into a gospel rave up version for the rest of the song.
Peace brother and thanks for a great show. Keep fighting the good fight with your music.
Here's a new song from Aloe Blacc
here's a version of Billie Jean by Aloe Blacc