Okayyyy friends. Part 2 of my Adventure Summer Series (I just made that up) is all about the muzak. Music, in layman terms. I don’t know about y’all, but there is something about live music that gets me like nothing else can. Maybe it’s because I’ve been telling my family that I was going to be a rockstar and tour the country in a tour bus since I was 5 years old. That is, until life slapped me in the face with the realization that you need actual musical talent to become a rockstar. Oh, cruel world. Or maybe it’s because I grew up listening to my pops play classic rock literally since I was in the womb (Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan.. anyone?). Whatever the reason, since I can’t make beautiful music, I admire the heck outta those who can.
There’s something about being at a show, feeling the music beat in your chest and seeing a crowd of people connect on this level that just makes me come alive. Lyrics and melodies allow you to travel through space and time. Simultaneously, a concert can make you feel more present by allowing you to escape from any life stressors for a minute. I guess in a way it reminds me of meditation. A louder one.
I’m giving you this back story so that you can understand WHY I go to so many live shows, because believe me.. I go to A LOT. I can’t be an artist, but I CAN go see one and be along for their ride. So as per my usual routine, I’ve been to a lot of concerts this summer. These days I mainly go to country, outlaw country or classic rock concerts, but I appreciate allllll kinds of music. I’m going to touch on a few of my fav’s thus far, this year.
First of all, I saw THE CHIEF…. Mr. Eric Church. The man played for nearly 3 hours. THREE. HOURS. No opener. Just him. If you haven’t seen him live yet, what are you even doing with your life? Anywho.. I went with a good friend of mine, sipped on some Jack Daniel’s and then got a little late-night breakfast while we waited for the traffic to die down for an easy commute (i.e., cheaper Uber) home.
And oh my gosh, you guys… I checked one off the ol’ bucket list this summer by seeing the legendary TOM PETTY. He’s still got it!! Ok, so I never saw him live before to actually make that comparison, BUT he sounded fantastic and that was a show I will never forget. He even had the amazing Chris Stapleton OPENING for him. I thought I was going to spontaneously combust seeing this show. Chris Stapleton is a headliner all by himself and one of the best musicians this day and age has seen. I’ve seen him several times, but seeing him followed by Tom Petty was surreal and will continue to be an amazing memory of mine for years to come.
Then there come the festivals.
The 3 day Lake Shake Music festival is a newer country fest in Chi. Regrettably, I’m at the age where 3 days of a music festival seems like A LOT. By “a lot” I mean you feel like you might die come Monday morning. But country fests are different for some reason. They’re manageable. I can do 3 days of one and still feel pretty good and not completely exhausted beyond belief after. Perhaps this is because I’ve matured or perhaps it’s because I’m doing it wrong. I like to think it’s because my gut health is rock solid thanks to proper nutrition (shameless plug). ;-) Nonetheless, some of my favorite artists and groups played Lake Shake this year, a couple being Whiskey Myers, The Cadillac Three and The Brothers Osborne. These dudes, respectively, are rock and roll country to the core. I feel like a badass just listening to them. Also in attendance, a badass LADY of country music… Miranda Lambert. I have been a HUGE fan of hers for years and somehow she made me an even bigger one with her latest album, “The Weight of These Wings.” It’s gritty and relatable for heartbreak, as well as, falling in love and just plain perfect. Seeing her live is always magical. As you can tell, I like my country rockin’, how ‘bout you (Eric Church reference… anyone? Bueller?)? Aside from this musical recap, I went to this fest with 2 of my best country music ride or die gal-pals which is what really always makes the show the best… the folks you share it with.
Following Lake Shake is another 3 day music festival about a month later called the Windy City Smokeout. This is a BBQ food fest combined with live country music, or as I like to call it, heaven. I love this festival. There were a lot of great bands this year, but some highlights were Jake Owens, Jana Kramer, Kip Moore and Luke Combs. HIGHLIGHT: I was lucky enough to attend a private Jake Owen show with BIG955chicago radio station. Imagine seeing Jake Owen play in a coffee shop, except it’s a tiki bar and he’s playing country oldies. I was very stoked to be a part of that super random, special moment. The fest was fun and I went with some of my best chicks again. The first night we got kidnapped by a trolley going to Joe’s on Weed (which I was completely cool with) and ended up seeing a free live show with Charlie Worsham. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the best moments always happen spontaneously.
Lastly (so far) this summer I saw the one and the only, Mr. Wheeler Walker Jr. This takes an acquired taste. I say that with admiration. Wheeler Walker Jr. is an experience if you have a crude sense of humor. His music is legit good and produced by one of the best producers in country music. It’s the lyrics that may lose some… profane and derogatory. But if you’ve got a sense of humor and can get in on the inside joke… he’s a trip worth taking.
That’s all I got so far this summer, but dang that’s kind of a lot!! I didn’t mean to go off on a live music review of sorts, but the point is to take y’all along on my journeys. I do this in hopes of encouraging you to take your own journeys and adventures. Whatever your musical poison is, or even if it isn’t music at all… I hope you can relate to what I’m talking about as far as the feeling it gives you. Take time out of your busy schedule and overbooked lives to make time for things that make your SOUL come alive like live music does for me.
Next Adventure I’m taking it back to travel and taking it out of the U.S. ‘Til then…
MS, RD, LDN