Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and are excited about all the good things 2016 has to offer. I know I am! Before I wander too far down the new year’s path, I wonder…How did you get your groove on during 2015? Personally, I experienced several musical highlights last year at Buddy Guy’s Legends, The Chicago Theatre, City Winery and beyond. What’s more? I attended all of those shows solo!
Live concerts are part of my “holy trinity.” (Travel and food make up the other two-thirds). I love many genres of music but blues and rock are what really get my blood pumping.
I started off 2015 with a live show by my absolute favorite musical artist of all time,
Beth Hart. Beth and her kick-ass band performed at Park West in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. I have seen her perfom several times including in Dublin, Ireland and New York. It was a treat to sit right up front, near the stage again, during this performance. Definitely, the highlight of 2015 for me.
As expected, I met several avid Beth Hart fans while standing in line in the snow , waiting for the doors at Park West to open. We exchanged personal stories of other Beth Hart shows we attended in the U.S. and abroad, as well as our experiences meeting Beth, her husband, Scott and the other members of her band. Of course, we discussed our favorite songs, too!
In April, I headed over to The Chicago Theatre to catch Joe Bonamassa. Joe is a stellar blues artist who has recorded albums with Beth Hart such as “Don’t Explain,” “See Saw” and “Live in Amsterdam.” Joe has been building an impressive blues career, since he was a young boy.
I chatted with some other Joe Bonamassa fans in the historic and gorgeous lobby of the Chicago Theatre over cocktails.
In May, I returned to Tthe Chicago Theatre to see the legendary Jeff Beck on blues guitar. He came onto a nearly bare-bones stage, without any flashy merchandising. Just his bandmates. He absolutely killed it that night. In addition to his own stellar songs, Jeff treated the audience to incredibly touching renditions of “Danny Boy” and “The Thrill is Gone.”
When you have an opportunity to see a living guitar legend (age 70), you take it. Even if you have to go solo.
I am a huge fan of Buddy Guy. Lucky for me, I live just 5 blocks from his Chicago club, Buddy Guy’s Legends. I have been honored to see Buddy perform live and to meet him several times. He is in residence every January for the entire month. During that time, he plays with different musicians every weekend. This year, I also attended Buddy’s 79th Birthday Bash.
Buddy, his family and friends were there mingling with the rest of us. He got up on stage later in the evening to sing. Then, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Buddy before we shared slices of his birthday cake and imbibed on some Buddy Brew beer:) I had fun chatting with Buddy and his many other fans. Top night!
James Bay, an up and coming British musician, was at Buddy’s party. He performed a song that night as well.
Here are some other musical highlights which helped my get my groove on in 2015, despite the fact that I attended these shows solo:
Chicago Blues Fest in Grant Park:
Dana Fuchs, Doyle Bramhall II and Jimmy Vaughan gave great perfomances at City Winery Chicago:
Walter Trout made an appearance at Buddy Guy’s Legends:
Grace Potter kept us all on our feet at The Chicago Theatre:
Devon Allman brought some rock ‘n soul to Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville:
Last but not least, I rang in the new year with Robert Randolph & The Family Band at City Winery in Chicago. I was invited to dance on stage with some other fun women. Of course, I accepted! After the show, I was able to hang with Robert and the band for a bit. Groovy cool way to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016!
So, there you have it. As much as I love to attend live shows with friends, they are not always available or interested in the bands I want to see. The thought of missing my favorite musical acts simply because I would have to go solo is unacceptable.
For those of you who feel self-conscious about attending a concert solo, I urge you to get over it. Remember, you already have something in common with the other folks who are in attendance. You both love the same singer/band and are excited for the show.
ROAM. REVEL. REPEAT.