12th Sep2014

Carrie Underwood Swoons the Audience with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra

by rockchicago


This was to be a very exciting night at Ravinia Festival, for Carrie Underwood has come back this year to grace us with her presence with not one but TWO sold-out shows at Ravinia. This time she is accompanied by the fantastic Ravinia Festival Orchestra!

As soon as Carrie walked out on stage, the crowd absolutely went nuts. She went right into her song “Good Girl,” and just kept on going through her great music backed by that beautiful orchestra. The Ravinia Festival Orchestra added so much to Carrie’s songs making them a lot more full and just hitting you in the face with greatness. Carrie didn’t even take a break during her set, and her voice was unbelievable! I was surprised with the notes she was hitting that her voice wouldn’t give out later on in the night, but it didn’t, because she knows how to use her voice and I appreciate that.

Here’s Carrie’s setlist from the night:

1. Good Girl

2. Wasted

3. Undo It

4. See You Again

5. Two Black Cadillacs

6. Temporary Home

7. We’re Young and Beautiful

8. Last Name

9. Jesus Take The Wheel

10. Do You Think About Me

11. Cowboy Casanova

12. So Small

13. Mama’s Song

14. Some Hearts

15. I Told You So (Randy Travis cover)

16. Just a Dream

17. All-American Girl

18. Cupid’s Got a Shotgun

19. Blown Away


20. Keep Us Safe

21. Before He Cheats

Quite a big setlist for the night, but Carrie really proved her worth with the orchestra, and Carrie’s band really blew it out of the park as well. They also blended really well with the orchestra. Out of all the concerts I’ve seen at Ravinia Festival this season, this had to be in my top 3. I know I keep emphazising the orchestra, but her voice and her band just clicked with them and I absolutely loved it. Even without the orchestra, I would definitely see Carrie Underwood in concert anywhere, and I highly recommend you do as well as I know she’ll blow you away!

Overall, a fantastic show, a beautiful night and a sold-out crowd. What more could you want?

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack

08th Oct2012

“Love For Levon” Brings the Stars In at the Izod Center

by rockchicago

All Photos by Alex Kluft


Love For Levon was a heart-felt tribute to one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years, Levon Helm from the band, who sadly passed this past April leaving behind an incredible musical legacy. This star studded tribute included Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Eric Church, Ray LaMontagne, Dierks Bentley, Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Grace Potter, Garth Hudson of The Band, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan, Mike Gordon, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, The Levon Helm Band, John Prine, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples, and Lucinda Williams.

Playing with the Levon Helm band was Kenny Aronoff and Don Was. It was easy to see how much everyone loved Levon, fans and the performers. I was lucky enough to have gotten to see Levon twice, I remember how gracious he was towards to audience, and was always smiling when he played. The show started with Ken Dashow from Q104.3 telling the audience about the time he first met Levon, when Levon said to him “C’mon son, give me a hug.” For those who knew Levon, it was easy to see how kind he was, but those who knew him knew it first hand.


Dashow then announced the first guest, Warren Haynes, as the Levon Helm band took the stage. Warren Hayne’s and Levon’s band led by Larry Campbell started the show with “Shape I’m In” by The Band, and was followed by Gregg Allman joining Haynes for “Long Black Veil,” followed by Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff from Hot Tuna performing “Trouble In Mind.” Shawn Pelton joined the band for “This Wheel’s On Fire.” Followed by Levon’s daughter Amy Helm and The Levon Helm band on “Little Birds,” Then Marc Cohn joined the band for a song of his “Listening to Levon. A few of the songs that had the crowd dancing were “Don’t Do It,” “Aint Got No Home,” “Tenesee Jed” and “Ophelia.” Each performance was great, and Levon was very much there in spirit.

The Levon Helm band played on all the songs except for the ones performed by My Morning Jacket. Some of the collaborations such as John Mayer and Ray Lamontagne, Roger Waters and My Morning Jacket, Dierks Bentley and Garth Hudson, and David Bromberg and Joan Osborne were very unexpected. All performances were incredible. There was an intermission half way through the concert, which was 3 hours. A few quotes were, “God bless you Levon, we love and miss you.”- Bruce Hornsby, “God Bless Levon Helm, his spirit lives on”- Lucinda Williams, “Levon Helm was always about the music, and this is about the music.”- Eric Church.


It was wonderful getting to see Garth Hudson perform, since he had played on so many of the original recordings of the songs performed, and is one of the 2 last surviving members of The Band. A few other guests that joined in unannounced through out the evening were Jaimoe, drummer for the Allman Brothers, Steve Jordan, drummer for The John Mayer Trio, and Rami Jaffee, keyboardist for the Wallflowers.

After My Morning Jacket performed “Ophelia” and “Makes No Difference,” The final guest of the evening was Roger Waters. Waters walked on stage casually with no introduction and said “Wow, there’s a lot of love in this room,” then performed “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with My Morning Jacket. Waters then spoke about when Helm, Rick Danko, and Hudson played at the 1990 The Wall: Live In Berlin concert. Waters said when he was at the Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin Levon said “Roger, I like your style, I want you to have my hat, and its been my fishing hat ever since” Waters continued saying “This will be with me till the day I die, because it means a lot to me, and mentioned that he hasn’t owned any piece of clothing as long as Levon’s hat. Levon’s hat sat on the mic stand until the end of the show then Waters put it back on. Waters was joined by Amy Helm and Larry Campbell for “Wide River To Cross.” Then all the artists throughout the night returned “The Weight” which was the closer when Levon played live.


This truly was a once in a lifetime event. Rather than trying to sound like The Band and Levon, each performer played in their own way, and sounded like themselves. The concert was not only a tribute to Levon but a benefit for Save The Barn.

Reviewed by Alex Kluft on 10/3/12



  1. Warren Haynes- Shape I’m In
  2. Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes- Long Black Veil
  3. Jorma Kaukonen & Barry MItteroff- This Wheels On Fire
  4. Shawn Pelton- This Wheel’s On Fire
  5. The Levon Helm Band featuring Amy Helm- Little Birds
  6. Marc Cohn- Listening to Levon
  7. Mavis Staples- Move Along Train
  8. Allen Toussaint and Jaimoe- Life Is A Carnival
  9. John Prine- When I Paint My Masterpiece
  10. Bruce Hornsby – Anna Lee
  11. Jakob Dylan & Rami Jaffee – Ain’t Got No Home
  12. Lucinda Williams – Whispering Pines
  13. John Hiatt and Mark Godon – Rag Mama Rag
  14. David Bromberg and Joan Osborne – Don’t do It
  15. Grace Potter – I Shall Be Released
  16. Ray LaMontagne & John Mayer – Tears of Rage
  17. Dierks Bentley – Rockin’ Chair
  18. Dierks Bentley & Garth Hudson – Chest Fever
  19. Eric Church – Get Up Jake
  20. John Mayer & Steve Jordan – Tennessee Jed
  21. Joe Walsh & Robert Randolph – Up On Cripple Creek
  22. My Morning Jacket – Ophelia
  23. My Morning Jacket – Makes No Difference
  24. My Morning Jacket & Roger Waters – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  25. Roger Waters & Amy Helm – Wide River To Cross
  26. All Artists – The Weight
21st Sep2012

Kenny Rogers Swoons The Arcada Theatre

by rockchicago


Country music legend Kenny Rogers performed at the Arcada Theater on September 7.  The concert was part of his current world tour.

Not many people know that Rogers had a rockabilly band in the 1950’s. In 1958 he recorded the song “That Crazy Feeling”.  He also performed the song on American Bandstand. In the early years of his career he experimented with several musical styles, including playing bass in a jazz group.  In the 1960’s he formed his own band that eventually became known as “Kenny Rogers and the First Edition”.  The band played music that was a combination of folk, rock and country music, and quickly scored a hit with the psychedelic hit “Just dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was In). The band had a few other hits including “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town” written by Mel Tillis.

In 1974 he left the group to pursue a solo career in country music.  In 1976 he recorded the song “Lucille”, which won him his first Grammy Award for Best Male Country Performance.  In 1978 he released the song “The Gambler”.  This song not only became a hit, it also earned him his second Grammy Award.  The hits kept coming.  “She Believes in Me”, “Coward of the County”, the Lionel Richie song “Lady”, and the duet with Dolly Parton “Islands in the Stream”, to name a few.

Rogers performance at the Arcada was a combination of recent songs, stories, humor and the songs that made him a music legend.  He was onstage for 75 solid minutes and basically held the audience in the palm of his hand. The audience sang along with several songs and it shared a true sense of unity. The first time I saw him was back in the 1980’s at the top of his fame, and this night he showed that he was still an amazing performer.  The very attentive audience was not disappointed.

On October 2nd, Rogers will release his new book, “Luck or Something Like It; A Memoir”.  Further information can be found on his website.

Reviewed by Jeff Rachman on 9/7/12

03rd Jul2012

Glen Campbell Kills With Kindness at Ravinia

by rockchicago


On a hot summer night at Ravinia Thursday night, the one and only Glen Campbell was playing. Now, I understand he’s been battling Alzheimer’s disease, but this is his Goodbye Tour, and he really wanted to go out with a bang.

At first, a young band came out, and you didn’t really know who they were going to play for. I thought they were an opening act, but it ended up being Glen Campbell’s family band! The band was comprised of Glen’s son Cal and Shannon on vocals, guitar and drums, and daughter Ashley on vocals, keyboards and banjo. The band also included Harry Nilsson’s son Kief Nilsson on bass guitar.

For a one hour show in hot weather, it was a great show and Mr. Campbell is a legend in his own way. Glen Gampbell is good friends with longtime collaborator Jimmy Webb, who wrote such hits as “Up, Up & Away,” “Witchita Lineman,” and “MacArthur Park.” I saw Jimmy Webb down at SPACE in Evanston a couple of years ago, and he truly put on a spectacle with just him at the piano playing all of the songs he wrote. Seeing Glen Campbell just made it better.

The two collaborated yet again last year when they performed their final concert together in Indiana. I wish I could’ve seen it. Glen’s voice matches up so well with Jimmy’s music.

The night started out with “Gentle on My Mind” then went straight into one of Glen’s biggest Webb hits “Galveston.” Listening to a sole piano version compared to a band was a big difference, but it was great. Campbell kept going with his Webb hits with one of his biggest hits ever “By the Time I get to Phoenix.” What a joy it was to hear that live. Glen couldn’t have sounded better that night not only with his vocals but his spectacular guitar playing. For 76 years old and having Alzheimer’s, this man could still do it.

Though there were times where Campbell would forget his words in songs. He would also forget where he was in a song, and not know what key the songs are in. I felt bad for him watching that on stage, but he is a real trooper and deserves a lot of credit for what he’s doing. I can totally understand why this is his Goodbye tour.

Glen continued on with great Webb hits such as “Didn’t We,” “The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress,” the famous “Witchita Lineman” and encoring with “A Better Place.” Glen also sang some of his other more well-known songs that Webb didn’t write like the catchy “Rhinestone Cowboy” and the theme song to the film “True Grit” starring John Wayne where Campbell played alongside him in his film acting debut. He also sang “Southern Nights” and some new songs off of his new album Ghost on the Canvas, “Don’t Go” and “Your Amazing Grace.”

When Campbell needed a break, daughter Ashley came out front with brother Cal, and they performed one of Campbell’s biggest hits “Hey Little One.” The two sounded great together. They have a side band when not playing with their dad called Victoria Ghost. I have a feeling they’ll go far as their dad. The highlight of the show was Glen’s dueling banjos with his daughter Ashley, with her playing banjo and him guitar as they played off of each other. What a treat it was and got a standing ovation.

It’s a shame what’s happening to Glen, but his music will always live on. Even Jimmy Webb is still touring and will be at SPACE in Evanston on July 21st (www.evanstonspace.com). Overall, great show with great music. Despite the heat and the show only being an hour, it was well worth it.

Check out Glen Campbell if you can on his Goodbye Tour at www.glencampbellmusic.com

And to find out about other shows at Ravinia, visit www.ravinia.org

Reviewed by Kevin Pollack on 6/28/12

17th Apr2012

Pure Prairie League at SPACE in Evanston

by rockchicago


Pure Prairie League may not have all the members they used to have, but they more than filled the hall with good country rock Thursday night at SPACE in Evanston.  With barely a bad seat in the place, Pure Prairie League took the stage bringing back songs from back as far as 1972.

Introduced as legendary country rockers, Pure Prairie League did not disappoint.  Starting out in Ohio, the early members were John David Call, steel guitar, joined Pure Prairie League in 1970, and Michael Reilly, bass and vocals joined in 1972.  Joining later Rick Schell on drums/vocals and Donnie Lee Clark guitar/vocals finished off the foursome.

An underrated band to me, Pure Prairie League had several hits making the charts with Aimie to #27, Let Me Love You Tonight with #10 and Still Right Here in My Heart making it to #28.   A band with huge talent, a great history with several songs all still played on a regular basis on major radio stations Pure Prairie League has stood the test of time.  It appeared the band made no mistakes all night while playing all these songs and the crowd loved it.

A couple of hits right off the start, Kansas City Southern and Getting Over You, started it out.  It’s not love but it’s not bad and I’ll fix your flat tire Merle, Let me Love You Tonight were a few more great hits. I’ll be Damned (if I Let You Play My Heart), Donnie Lee Clark ended the song with an imaginative guitar solo leaving the crowd smiling, yelling and whistling in excitement.

Obviously the highlight of the show was when they played Aimie.  The crowd joined in after the lead in song Falling In And Out of Love started with Donnie on acoustic guitar.   The Encore followed after and Michael Reilly dedicated the song I Sure Do Miss You Now to a friend and former piano player Mike Conner.

Pure Prairie League is definitely in a League above the rest and I truly enjoyed the show and would jump at the chance to see them again.

Reviewed by Lee Bishop on 4/5/12


21st Mar2012

Mary Chapin Carpenter plays The Paramount

by rockchicago

Well, back to the lovely Paramount Theatre to see a legend of folk and country, Mary Chapin Carpenter. Before the concert, I didn’t know too much about her, except I listened to a couple of her recordings. Also, I knew she was a Grammy Award winner. She is more in the Country/Folk genre.     For most of the night, she was telling stories behind the songs, as she was going through her back catalog of songs. Along with her band, she knew how to give the audience what they wanted. She played a lot of up-tempo songs from her new album, such as “I Put My Ring Back On,” and “What You Look For,” to the hauntingly beautiful “Mrs. Hemingway”.       Overall, it was a very relaxing, enjoyable concert. I do give Carpenter a lot of credit though. Near the end of the night, Carpenter told the audience that her dad passed away that day, and that she needed to perform to let it out, because she believed that’s the best remedy to get over her sadness. Then she said that she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. When she said that, the audience gave her a standing ovation. The night was mellow, but the music was blazing. Carpenter really knew how to put on a show.

Review by Kevin Pollack on 10/14/11

Rating: 4/5