Sep 18, 2010

Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz at Wrigley Field on 9/17/10

As a West Lakeview resident living within a brief walk to Wrigley Field, I feel it is my civic duty to go to shows at Wrigley. This is the 3rd show I have been to at Wrigley. Prior shows include The Police and Elton John/Billy Joel. The crowds have so far been very manageable and friendly in "the Confines". The ticket prices are always a bit much considering that you are watching a screen most of the time. Those with better connections than I, have made their way up to the first few rows. But alas, I need new friends. I have to admit that I have always liked Dave Matthews (and I like Jason too) but I would not normally go out of my way to go to one of his shows. The audience however seemed a bit, dare I say it, younger than me and those I came with. My sitter (in her 20's) did say that I looked very hip though in my "deggings" and converse, as I walked out the door. So harrumph. The young group of 5 friends (ex co-workers from an ad firm) sitting in front of us as well as the cute couple next to them, clearly knew all the words to all songs Dave Matthews and had a great time despite our tremendous distance from the stage. Our particular seats were not only far away, they were in a section that was designed for interrogations. There was a spot light right overhead and the area remained lit for the entire show. Not great for ambiance. The sound, I am told, was not any better if you were on the field (standing room only). Bottom line, you would not go to this venue if you wanted quality sound. It is the experience and having been there when. I do recall my niece coming in town with friends and crashing at our place (years ago) because they had tickets to a Dave Matthews show. They ranted and raved and taped it too!

Now, I had no idea before this night, that Dave Matthews and his band have a Grateful Dead following! I mocked my husband for being so completely off-base by mentioning this apparently (she said sheepishly) well known fact. I also did not know that they toured continuously for the last 20 years (a similarity) and do go off on long, heavily instrumental, predominantly violon-based, detours (another similarity). I have read that Dave is taking a year off after this tour to renew and re-energize their creative juices. I did enjoy the show but particularly liked the cover songs. I impressed myself by recognizing Stairway to Heaven (but I was a Zeppelin fan from way back) interwoven into Bob Dylan's Along the Watchtower. Again, I did not have the advantage of knowing that this version has been done before at his shows. One of the Gen X DMB experts standing in front of me spouted that this version had not been played since 2005. So, a big deal to be sure to have been there in 2010 to hear it. The other cover, The Needle and the Damage Done by Neil Young, was clearly going somewhere but oddly, Dave stopped playing it before he reached the chorus (thumbs down on that!). The biggest show stopper was when Dave launched into a cover of The Talking Heads Burning Down the House. The other odd thing during the show was that the band would stop playing in-between songs, the stage would go black, and nothing would happen for several minutes. I was busy talking with friends so the fact that I noticed the extensive "breaks" is noteworthy. I was impressed by the virtuoso violinist, Boyd Tinsely, who played a mean violin. It was obvious that my friend Dita was less impressed by his skills when she commented "Oh Jeez, enough already with the violin!". The music appreciation 101 class offered freshman year was obviously not attended by my good friend.

The other short-cut and cheap way to hear these shows is to grab a lawn chair and sit out on your deck or lawn to hear the show if you live close by. There were people lined up near Wrigley with their chip bags, pretzels, and beer, enjoying the show with friends this way, for free! I have done this before to see Fiona Apple at Northerly Island, before the city and police got hip to this awesome trick. Now there is a barrier to getting close to the venue at Northerly. My friend Wendy and I swore to keep this discovery on the down low promising that we would tell no one about our "Raviniaesque" experience but it was discovered anyway.

The weather this night was perfect and the sky crystal clear. Our group of two couples made our way back to Southport to grab a late night bite at Bull-eh-Dia's Tapas. We were able to sit outside at 11pm which is highly unusual for Chicago in general. My friend Dita pointed out that it felt like we were in NYC. Well, as close as we get anyway. This is a small place located on Southport and Waveland. Friendly service, good food, and drinks. We shared a heart stopping and clogging date, goat cheese, bacon wrapped tapas, spicy chicken, shredded pork on bruschetta, and scallops wrapped in bacon. All in all, an enjoyable local night out with friends. And we can now say that we were there when. I give the show a 3 out of 5 guitar rating (subtracted two points for our location, sound quality, bright light, long intervals of quiet and darkness in-between songs, and not finishing the Neil Young song). For more info go to www.

Enjoy the cover of Burning Down the House from the show. This video is taken from a fan on Youtube that is obviously one of the well-connected new friends to know.

Jason Mraz setlist

Intro by Dave Matthews
2: Freakshow
3: Up
4: Make It Mine
5: Anything You Want
6: Butterfly
7: A Beautiful Mess
8: Freedom Song *
9: I'm Yours *
10: All You Need Is Love (Beatles cover)

Jason is a word-smith alternating rhythms from hip-hop, reggae, jazz, folk and pop in his songs. He has been putting out grammy worthy songs since he first wrote The Remedy. He has produced 3 studio albums since 2002 and another one is slated to come out shortly. Enjoy the video of Jason singing his hit I'm Yours during the Wrigley performance.

and another more polished acoustic version:

and lastly, my personal favorite is Shy That Way which he co-wrote with his girlfriend Tristan Prettyman (also a talented singer songwriter) known for Love, Love, Love...

For the Wrigley show he was on stage with what seemed like hundreds (slight exaggeration) of Cubs fans as back-up singers and dancers. The members of what turned out to be a back-up choir, all wore Cubs jerseys during the performance. Having this many people on stage was distracting to say the least but really, considering the venue, his vocals still sounded quite good. He steered clear of his usual lightening speed word scat, focusing our attention to his true vocal talent. To see him at a small venue is really the way to go. I would love to see him as Schubas or SPACE sometime in the future. Likely he is too big for venues that small and intimate but you never know.

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