Chicago Theatre Review
Food Network Comes to Ravinia
Food Network in Concert at Ravinia
On Saturday September 20, some of the biggest names in food and music came together at Ravinia for the first ever Food Network Concert.
It began at 11am with many popular food network chefs including Sunny Anderson, Anne Burrell, Jose Garces, Alex Guarnaschelli, Jeff Maura, Marc Murphy, and Geoffrey Zakarian.
With near perfect weather (the exception of about 10 minutes of rain) the event was filled with several music stages, cooking demos, wine and food tastings and themed lunch and dinners.
I attended the hot, hot, hot lunch put on by the Island of the Bahamas with some amazing spicy food, bloody marys and great island music. For a few hours I felt like I was was transported right to the Carribean.
One of the highlights of the day was “The greatest hits.” With tents set up around the park there were food and wine tastings from over 50 chefs and 100 wineries. If you missed it this time around something tells me you will have another chance next year as this should become an annual event.
And what could be a more perfect way to end a glorious day of food and drink then an evening of music with Phillip Phillips and John Mayer.
Phillip Phillips /John Mayer Concert at Ravinia
The concert began with Phillip Phillips taking the stage. Phillips who was the winner of American Idol in 2012 played for almost an hour. He delighted us with his artistry and a style that you could tell was influenced by his idol Dave Matthews Band. We were treated to his 2 big hits from “The World from the Side of the Moon” , Gone, Gone, Gone and Home. We in turn treated him to a rendition of Happy Birthday as he celebrated his 24th birthday that evening.
And then it was time for the evenings main attraction. I have been a huge John Mayer fan ever since he came onto the music scene with his first studio albums; Rooms for Squares in 2001 and Heavier Things in 2003. I must admit I have never had the chance to see him live in concert, but his performance at Ravinia was nothing less than spectacular. Mayer has truly evolved into one of today’s finest songwriters and musicians. His mastery of the guitar, acoustic and electric is just amazing. You can hear the different styles of music from rock to country to contemporary pop that have influenced his unique style over his career.
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in Fairfield,Mayer was a graduate of the Berkley College of Music. His music crosses the huge spectrum of style and his range of artist collaborations through the years has truly left an impression on American music. The crowd at Ravinia was treated to a great set list from his diverse arsenal of hits over the years from his six albums. His acoustic rendition of Tom Petty’s Free Falling was such a nice touch to a beautiful evening hosted by the Food Network.
The eight piece band including Mayer himself, was tight and their sound was a true testament of how talented his band and vocalists play together. But his true genius really shines in his brilliant guitar solos which remind you of how great a guitarist John Mayer really is. After having throat surgery in 2011 and a brief hiatus from music, taking time away from the spotlight and moving to Montana, Mayer has matured with time and his strong lyrical content, beautiful blend of melodic riffs combined with his awesome showmanship of the guitar. He really gave the audience a taste of his mastery of the guitar on his song “If I Ever Get Around To Living”, playing two guitars, one acoustic and one electric, finishing up the song playing the guitar behind his back. It really was a great ending to a wonderful summer of music under the stars at one of the most beautiful venues in the country, Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois.
A five star event
Reviewed by Joseph Paul