Chicago Theatre Review
Ravinia Season starts with a Big Bang
What are some of the best things about summer in Chicago? Beaches, fests, Bike rides, the lakefront just to name a few. But for me and many others the greatest thing about summer is Ravinia. And as far back as I can remember I have always equated Ravinia with the start of the summer (perhaps some people think memorial day). What better way to spend a beautiful summer evening then hanging out with good friends, good wine, listening to some of the best live music to kick off Ravinia 2016.
Billed as the “Last Summer on Earth” Tour, this triple header, four hour concert was quite a musical masterpiece. The triple header being Howard Jones, OMD and Bare Naked Ladies. As I looked around at the crowd ( many in my age group) I felt transformed back to my 20’s dancing the night away to the music of Howard Jones and OMD. And might I mention watching Andy McCluskey work the stage was quite impressive. “If you Leave” brought us all back to that John Hughes “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack, a classic movie which really defined the 1980’s.
And then BNL took the stage. A Canadian band who came onto the music scene in the late 1980’s. Besides some great songs (Brian Wilson, If I had a Million Dollars) it is their whimsical, humorous bantering that made audiences take note of this very talented group. They treated us to a song about a restaurant they had eaten at (loved the food, not so much the décor). They also sang about the many different food items being eaten on the lawn. Their ability to improvise is just one of the things that sets them apart from many other groups.
Now I have always been a fan of BNL. There is no mistaken those voices whenever you hear one of their songs. They gained even more popularity doing the theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”. Before treating us to the scientific way the world began we were given an alternative version, “God did.” Just a little more humor from these guys who looked like they were having as much fun as their audience. At one point Howard Jones joined them to do “No one is to Blame.”
Sitting in front of me were a father and his teenage daughter. They kept pulling up photos of all three groups from their very early days. This was a reminder to myself how lucky my generation was to have this music. How fortunate we are to still have these groups performing and transporting us back to a time when life seemed easier. Music is one of the things that unites people and even for a short time makes us forget our troubles.
Oh and did I mention how lucky we are to have Ravinia and all it has to offer. A great beginning to what can only be an amazing summer in one of the greatest outdoor venues.
For complete schedule visit www.ravinia.org