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16. The Cheap Seats pt 3: Norah Jones, Chris Stapleton, and David Gray in Chicago at Wrigley and the Huntington Pavilion.

  1. June 3, 2022 Knotfest – Slipknot and Cypress Hill, Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena

2. June 25th, 2022 – Dead and Company, Chicago, IL, Wrigley Field

3. *.July 15, 2022 – Norah Jones, Chicago, IL , Huntington Bank Pavilion

4. *July 18th, 2022 – David Gray, Chicago, IL, Huntington Bank Pavilion

5. * July 23, 2022 – Christ Stapleton, Chicago, IL, Chicago, IL, Wrigley Field

All good things must come to an end. Of course, I’m talking about my summer of concert going, dining out, and chilling in Chicago with Mel B. Since the last three shows all occurred over the period of 8 days, I will cover them all in one blog entry.

She is The Nightingale.

The first show of the week being Norah Jones, who’s talent cannot be underestimated. I mean this, she can really put a show together. Early in her career, known as much for her sultry good looks as her music, she has matured into a wonderfully seasoned Jazz-Pop fusion artist. To any who may not know her background and genetic details, she is the daughter of Ravi Shankar who’s reputation as a Sitar virtuosos in the 1960’s attracted pupils like the George Harrison. The apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in some cases that baby apple may sprout its own orchard.

I first heard Norah a decade or so ago when her single Don’t Know Why was released. To be honest, I was still a fan of harder music, was underwhelmed and even shocked to learn she was copping Grammies. This was many years before the idle hours I spent on the coast of North Carolina. Back then I was working for the human incarnation of Satan, pretty down, pondering my existence, and listening to Feels Like Home.

As noted above I’m not the typical fan, testosterone driven and not politically correct, but this album put the hook in me. The radio singles were impressive, but side B had moving ethereal ditties like The Prettiest Thing, Humble Me, and Don’t Miss You at All that bore the test of multiple listenings easily. Her music sounded to me if decades of practiced wisdom and song craft were distilled into filler tracks marooned at the albums end. If those were her leas known songs, I figured she had talent. So it was gratifying to see and hear this angel at The Huntington Pavilion. Her live version of Nightingale was a touching way to end the show.

He is ‘the songbird of his generation‘.

Seeing ‘red’ at Chris Stapleton.

It’s hard to put Chris Stapleton in a definite category, and this may explain for his success. His fans, however, look straight out of central casting from Walk the Line, so they are not hard to categorize at all. Opening up for CS were The Highwomen which in my country music naiveté, I had never heard of. as they sounded pretty good for an opening act, I asked Mel B if she had heard of them. She informed me of my ignorance and how lucky I was to see them perform live.

There is a Chris Stapleton song I wanted to hear called Death Row, but spirits high he only played the positive stuff. By positive stuff I mean songs you might hear at a gas station or convenience store. To be precise, after The Highwomen finished, CS hit the stage like a force of red neck nature. His first track was Nobody to Blame, a kick ass meditation on the boomerang pain betrayal can bring featuring his smoky vocals over classic telecaster buzzsaw and Nashville pedal steel. It went down like a lead balloon.

As the show went on, the music got louder, and the crowds got drunker. When I first walked into Wrigley that night wearing my white Adidas cap as I always do, let me say I was not feeling comfortable. Even the lighting was red that night (see photo above), and I doubt this was by accident. Can you imagine a stadium filled with country loving MAGA’s awash in blue light? I doubt it. But funniest thing happened. Unlike a divisive political rally, after two hours and forty minutes of songs we let out differences slide. Whether red or blue, everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves cooperatively. For multiple reasons it was a concert I won’t soon forget and shows we all can come together to enjoy a great evening of music over Budweiser, and bud in some cases.

He is making the most of White Ladder.

As far as artists go, David Gray does not have a large body of work. Yet this does not take away from the experience of seeing him live. I mean, how many performers have the moxie to come on stage in a white suit? Last time I saw anyone do that was when comedian Steve Martin did it, and it was the 1970’s. Additionally listening to him perform David Bowie covers on piano, when his own material was exhausted, was pretty cool. I’m a big David Bowie fan but unfortunately never was blessed to see him live.

The truth is, I would have never bothered with this folk rock-electronics legend if I wasn’t trying to impress a certain blonde- my wife. Like many aspects of love and partnership, it’s the things we learn to accept from other people we might end up loving the most. David Gray is also a natural entertainer, an environmentalist, and sure to have you tapping your toe and leaving the Huntington Pavilion in a good mood. Of course, the five-dollar beers at the HP helped.

The light and music emitting electric rickshaws were like something out of a psylocybe cubensis induced dream.

The John Hancock Center.

At the Sunnyside in Chicago, shopping for someone else of course.
John Hancock Center on a sunny summer day from The Cheesecake Factory and Starbucks food plaza on The Magnificent Mile.

The Editorial Staff at Mitten Maid

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