Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Review: Evanescence at the Chicago Theatre (November 30, 2017)

Evanescence’s last scheduled performance in Chicago, on August 26, 2012 at Toyota Park was rained out. Thus, the Chicago crowd was very eager to see this New York band that doesn’t tour all that often. Adding to the excitement is the fact that they are joined by a full orchestra on stage, all dressed in black.

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On “Bring Me To Life”, Amy Lee, the lead singer, showcases her voice. The audience can’t help but wish that they also used a male singer like they did on the album for parts of the song.  Later on, Amy explains that the meaning of the next song has changed over the years. Now, it is about you, the audience, she says, just before launching into My Immortal. “You still have… all of me.”

 

When she returns for the encore, the sheet music is already on the piano. She grabs and puts it to side saying “I don’t need this. I wrote this. I lived this.”

See the full setlist here.

If you are a fan of Evanescence, check out Lizzie, playing at the Den Theatre.

Copy and paste this code into a new Spotify playlist to play the setlist:

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Impressive! Broadway in Chicago Presents Gobsmacked! at The Broadway Playhouse (December 5, 2017)

If you are a fan of Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off or Glee, you’ll love Gobsmacked! The entire cast is very impressive. They all have great vocal range. The most impressive is Ball-Zee, the beatboxer. It’s amazing the sounds he can produce just using his vocal chords. It’s incredible when he holds one microphone against his throat and makes a beat while simultaneously beatboxing into another microphone. Here is the full setlist:

 

ACT 1

  1. Pump It

 

  1. Mr. Brightside

 

  1. Telephone

 

  1. Mans World

 

  1. Shape of You

 

  1. Mercy

 

  1. Rolling in the Deep / Crazy
  1. Life on Mars

 

  1. Gobsmacked

 

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ACT 2

  1. Don’t Stop Me Now

 

  1. She Loves You

 

  1. Titanium

 

  1. Beat Box Solo

 

  1. Kiss

 

  1. Paint it Black
  1. Could It Be Magic

 

  1. Mash up

 

  1. Hey Jude

 

Get tickets now for Gobsmacked! through Sunday, December 10th!

 

Quinn

Broadway Bound and Tony Award Worthy! The Minutes at Steppenwolf Theatre (November 19, 2017)

Mr. Peel, played by Cliff Chamberlain, is a new member of the Big Cherry City Council. He missed the last session due to the death of his mother. The minutes from the last meeting have not been distributed, so he is behind on many topics. When he tries to find out what happened, the other members avoid answering his questions. He keeps digging and eventually a deeply dramatic story unravels.

The play explores the age old saying, “History is written by the winners.” What happens when you learn the full truth of the story? Can you ignore it and go on living the same way? Is ignorance bliss? This draws direct parallels to the current controversy over removing Confederate statues and also the Washington Redskins, who are playing their first Thanksgiving game this year, in what seems like a sick joke.

The performances in this production are world class. William Peterson, who may recognize as Gil Grissom from CSI, plays Mayor Superba excellently. He shows strength and leadership and he struggles to keep the meeting in order. Francis Guinan as Mr Oldfield is absolutely hilarious. In many ways, this role is similar to his performance in Hir. In both, he plays an old man almost completely unaware of reality who stumbles through life and provides comic relief for the show.

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Ian Barford portrays Mr. Carp. Like his role as Wheeler in Linda Vista, he seeks the truth with conviction and it is forcing him to change in ways he didn’t expect. Danny McCarthy, who was last seen at Steppenwolf in The Flick, is great as Mr. Hanratty. The way he deals with the other council members during his proposal for a new fountain is so funny. All of the other supporting cast members are excellent as well.

Get tickets now for The Minutes through January 7th, before it heads to Broadway and wins a few Tony Awards!

Quinn Delaney

Note: This is Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Lett’s follow up to Linda Vista. See our review here.

Funny and Exciting! The Agency Theater Collective Presents Hellcab at The Den Theatre (November 17, 2017)

It’s Monday, December 21, 1992, in Chicago, IL.  It’s a cold, snowy day, which is good for business for the Cab Driver, played by Rusty Schwimmer. She starts early, at 630am, and picks up her first customers, a couple going to church. They try to convince her to join them. This is just the first of many strange invitations she receives this night. Later on, a female passenger played by Delysa Richards enters her cab with her hood pulled down over her head acting very suspiciously. She keeps fumbling around with something in her pocket, like a gun or something. The cab driver is obviously rattled and it makes for a very exciting scene.

Schwimmer plays the straight man role perfectly. As her customers do annoying things, she makes the perfect disgusted face, which is so funny. She is on the audience’s side and we are experiencing the taxi life with her. She also displays great fear and anxiousness when the suspicious passenger is in the cab.

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Here are a few fun trivia items about the play:

In one scene, Schwimmer sits by herself in the cab, singing “Barracuda” by Heart.

Most of the characters are just going “3 blocks” away.

In one scene, her passengers from NYC are making fun of Chicago sports teams. She says the Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, which was true at the time.

In the same scene, she defends the Bulls, who were on their way to their third straight championship.

While watching the performance, there are never more than four people on stage at a time. However, there are seventeen people in the cast.

The play was turned into a movie in 1997 starring Michael Shannon, John Cusack, Tracey Letts, John C. Reilley, Gillian Anderson, Julianne Moore, and many more.

Get tickets now for Hellcab through Dec 17th!

Quinn Delaney

Instrumental Rock! TR3 featuring Tim Reynolds at City Winery (November 3, 2017)

Tim Reynolds is a guitarist well known for playing  with Dave Matthews. On night, he is playing with his own band, TR3. He brought 5 different guitars to play 5 different styles: rock, samba, metal, acoustic rock, and jam. This versatility is very  impressive.

Towards the end of the night, the band plays tribute to three guitar legends. First up, they play “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty, who passed away October 2nd this year.  Tim nails the solos in the song. Next up is “Rebel Rebel” by David Bowie who died on January 10, 2016. The bassist, Mick Vaughn, does a great job with the vocals on this one.

Finally, to close out the night in their encore, they play an instrumental version of “When Doves Cry” by Prince, who passed on April 21, 2016.

Quinn Delaney

Rocking! Sinkane at Lincoln Hall (October 26, 2017)

Early on they play “How We Be”, which starts off with a fantastic beat. Then, Ahmed Gallab, the lead singer and founder of Sinkane, comes in with his fantastic vocals. “Oo-oo-ooh, we’ve got life right in the pocket.” It’s a great song to put in the set early, as it gets everyone dancing. Also, it has over 3.9 million plays on Spotify.  Soon after is “Favorite Song”, and it’s clear the dance party will continue all night. “Won’t you play my favorite song?” sings everyone in unison along to this very happy song.

Later on they play a tribute to the late Tom Petty, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”.  They add their own spin to the song to make it sound like one of their own. They have created a unique blend of funk, rock, electronic, and psychedelic rock. For some, the song is only recognized when they sing “Oh hell ya, honey put on that party dress!” It’s a great part of a fantastic night of music by this Brooklyn band that has a bright future ahead of them.

Quinn Delaney

Teenage Musician: Sammy Brue opening for Rodriguez at the Vic Theatre (October 11, 2017)

At just 16 years old, Sammy Brue shows a lot of maturity with the way he handles himself on stage in front of a large audience. It’s just him and his acoustic guitar playing songs from his debut album, “I Am Nice.” What a great title for an album from a young man from Utah. And the music matches the title as he displays his talent. He moves with the songs, and at one point his guitar cord comes loose and cuts out. He doesn’t lose a beat and just holds up his guitar to the microphone like a pro. The song “I Know” is a highlight of his set. It’s quite fun and catchy. Even though he only had 30 minutes at the Vic tonight, it was enough to see that he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

Quinn Delaney