Tag Archives: Northerly Island

Chicago and REO Speedwagon at Northerly Island

It’s a windy night in the Windy City. The crowd awaits REO. A voice on the loud speaker encourages us to welcome to the stage the opener. Turns out, there is a bonus act. One which is not listed on the Live Nation site or anywhere else of note. The crowd puts up with him and thankfully his set is short. Again, the crowd waits for REO.

The wait is short and they take the stage. The crowd, filled mostly with fans who were in their 20s when these bands first hit the scene, welcomes them warmly. At one point during the show he “takes” a call from his lady. She asks him to bring home a loaf of bread. He responds he can’t bring in the garbage cans because he is playing to 15,000 fans. Oops!

Next up, Chicago takes the stage. As play “Saturday in the Park”, fireworks are blasting in the background from Navy Pier.  Every day IS like the fourth of July with Chicago in Chicago.

Finally, Chicago and REO Speedwagon play together for a final set of hits.  Everyone knows every word.  Everyone has a huge smile on their face.  THIS is summer in the Windy City.

Phish at Northerly Island

It’s a perfect night in Chicago.  Only a few non threatening clouds fill the sky.  A flood of people make their way down the one street that leads to Northerly Island.  Many hold one finger up above their head to indicate they are looking for a ticket to a show.  Tonight is the final night of Phish’s three night stand in Chicago.  The fans anxiously await for the band to take the stage.

Phish takes the stage and the crowd applauds with excitement. They begin to play and Trey’s microphone isn’t working. For most acts, no microphone would run the show. But Phish easily goes into an instrumental jam while the issue is fixed. Walking around the large crowd in the lawn, I take in the crowd. Girls are hula hooping. Guys are throwing frisbees. People join the frisbee circle for a few throws and then move on. Some people are gathered close to the fence to watch the band, but many are just spread out enjoying the atmosphere. For many fans, it is not just about the band. It’s about the community that comes out to the show. I witness two people run into each other and greet each other with a huge hug. It’s clear they haven’t seen each other in quite a long time and are quite happy to run into each other. Music brings us together, and for Phish, it’s a large crowd of people enjoying the music and the company of like minded fans.

Michael Franti and Spearhead at Northerly Island

The stage is out on Northerly Island, a peninsula surrounded by Lake Michigan and a large harbor filled with boats. The air is fresh and the moon is nearly full. The skyline reaches to the sky behind the stage. Soldier Field glows just off to the left.
Franti takes the stage and the audience feels the love right away. After a few songs, he plays Bob Marley’s “Could We Be Loved”, a shout out to the godfather of reggae. Later on he starts “Sound of Sunshine” with just an acoustic guitar. Then, the band jumps in and a multitude of colored balls fill the air. The crowd hits them around throughout the song and it feels like we are in the middle of a ball pit battle. The joy is felt all around during this song and the entire set.

311 at Northerly Island

It’s a warm evening and the feeling is right for 311.  It’s a cloudy night, so the sky just looks black.  The band comes out and the stage bursts with light.   The band launches into their set, adding in old favorites such as “All Mixed Up” and “Come Original” early on.   They continue on with newer material.  The newer songs lack the melodies and the hooks of the older songs.  They are of a heavier style, focused more on distortion and rapping. 
“Who’s got the herb?” brings cheers from the audience. We can only imagine how the response will be when they in Washington, where recreational marijuana was just put into effect. As this trend spreads across the country, we can imagine a much different experience for when 311 comes to Chicago next time.

SOJA at Northerly Island

I pull up deep into their set. They are in the middle of a heavily percussive jam. The mood is instantly set. It’s a relaxed vibe. Michael Franti joins them for a song and it becomes clear they make good tour mates. Their styles blend smoothly. As the band leaves, they exclaim that Franti is up next. They appear to be just as excited as the audience is, and why not?