Willie Nelson Concert Photos and Notes

When a living legend comes to town it’s an easy decision to buy a ticket. That was the case on Friday, when Willie Nelson came to Chicago’s Chicago Theatre. Below are a few excellent photographs of Willie from the show. But first, a few observations.

Willie can bring it. I was pleasantly surprised that Willie still has chops on the guitar. I’m no Willie Nelson expert but I had no idea he could play like that. We’re not talking strumming along to easy tunes but picking, sliding … the whole nine yards. Sometimes he was bordering being a blues man. Really nice.

Willie spans all ages. There were true hippies, neo-hippies, hipsters, young, old … even a Cosby sweater sighting. Good to see that someone like Willie Nelson still gets all kinds of people excited.

At the end of the show, Willie walked the entire length of the stage, signing autographs on his trademark headbands, album covers, even a couple of cowboy boots. The fact that he still has that energy — at 77 years-old — amazes me.

Enjoy the photographs, courtesy of Sound Citizen Tony Stec. See more of his concert photos.

Willie Nelson playing in Chicago

Willie Nelson in Chicago

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson Chicago Theatre marquis

Amos Lee Ticket Giveaway!

Here we go, time for another Sound Citizen ticket giveaway! This time it’s Amos Lee, who is playing at the Vic Theatre in Chicago on Saturday, March 26. Lee, a quickly rising star, is touring on his new album, Mission Bell. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart in January of this year.

It’s going to be a great show, and you can go — for free. To enter to win, simply “Like” Sound Citizen’s Facebook page or subscribe to Sound Citizen updates via email, on the right side of this page. Current Sound Citizen fans and email subscribers are already eligible to win, but leave a comment if you want to be in the mix.

Good luck!


The Pogues’ “A Parting Glass Tour” Hits Chicago

By Sean Sweeney

(Set list and video below.)

It took a long time for me to see a Pogues concert. Thirty-some-odd years, actually. But it was an experience that was well worth the wait. And I use the word “experience” because, frankly, I have no more appropriate way to describe this show.

A forever-feeling 60 minutes after opening band Titus Androgynous completed their set, the crowd of mostly 20- to 30-something beer swilling fans was primed to party with the legendary Irish folk/punk Pogues and frontman Shane MacGowan.

After apologies for being late and a few slurred words from the always-interesting (and always intoxicated) Shane MacGowan, the group gently began the set-opener with “Streams of Whiskey;” proving that, while warranted, concerns over MacGowen’s ability to perform could be put aside. His his booze-laced, groggy, smoke-aged voice was surprisingly up to task, in spite of his hard-earned, hard drinking reputation (and toothless grill). The Pogues’ original eight — MacGowan (lead singer and songwriter), Spider Stacy (tin whistle, vocals), Jem Finer (banjo), James Fearnley (accordion), Darryl Hunt (bass), Andrew Ranken (drums), Phillip Chevron (guitar) and Terry Woods (mandolin) — then rolled into the classic “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” and the brash rockers were on their way to playing all the high notes of their catalog; including “A Pair Of Brown Eyes,” the MacGowan-less “Tuesday Morning” (Spider Stacy took the lead vocal duties), “Sunny Side Of The Street” and a perfectly-paced “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.” The crowd responded too, as a familiar mosh pit stirred up in the front of the stage from the jump.

(review continues below)


There were a few low points. On “Thousands are Sailing,” Chevron took the vocals and was out of key more than once — possibly because it seemed the band started the song a key too high. There were also sound issues all night,including ear-piercing feedback from the main vocal mic throughout the set. And, unsurprisingly, McGowan forgot some words and his timing was a bit off on “Matilda.” But given his state and his history, it’s surprising that more songs didn’t suffer the same fate.

All that being said, it’s easy to overlook a few shortcomings. Everyone, like me, was there for the experience of The Pogues. That’s the respect and love they have earned as music legends and received on this night. They’ve been driving hard for almost 30 years, almost fully intact. Signs of wear become revered, not reviled. So, the mosh pit churned and the sing-a-longs rollicked while MacGowan puffed on a few cigarettes between songs, as if to give a metaphorical middle-finger to the Chicago indoor smoking ban and purveyors of a healthy lifestyle everywhere. In the end, the band that once opened for The Clash in 1984 effortlessly channeled their true punk roots and did whatever the hell they wanted to. And we drank up all of it.

At various times during the show, the band-mates would give dedications (or as the kids call them today ‘shout-outs’) to loved ones and friends. That might sound a bit out of place for a band with such a long history as The Pogues (haven’t they thanked these people before?) but recent online rumors have suggested that this show would be the last for The Pogues in Chicago — after all, this U.S. tour is titled “A Parting Glass With The Pogues.” Even so, during some of their famous fast-paced songs like “Bottle Of Smoke” and “Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn,” Fearnley pranced and jumped across the stage, lifting and throwing his accordion around and bending on his knees like he was in his 20’s again. The crowd loved it. And it hardly seemed the behavior of someone at the end of the line. Let’s hope not. Because every fan of a rock and roll life should see The Pogues.

Setlist: The Pogues – “A Parting Glass” tour, Congress Theater, Chicago, March 3rd, 2011 (more video below)

Streams Of Whiskey
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
The Broad Majestic Shannon
Boat Train
A Pair Of Brown Eyes
Tuesday Morning (Shane left the stage for this one)
Irish Lullaby
Sunny Side Of The Street
Repeal of the Licensing Laws
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
Body Of An American
London Girl
Thousands are Sailing (Phil on lead)
Dirty Old Town
Bottle of Smoke
Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn

-Encore #1-
Sally MacLennane
Rainy Night In Soho
Irish Rover

-Encore #2-
Poor Paddy On The Railway



Sean Sweeney is a life-long Chicagoan, musician and live concert fanatic who has attended more than 300 concerts. You can find him on Twitter @MusicalSean. Sean plays drums in Chicago’s B-Side Social (www.bsidesocial.com)

2011 Pitchfork Festival Lineup Announced

Yep, it’s that time again — concert festival time. In Chicago, one of the highlights is Pitchfork, which takes place July 15-17 at Chicago’s Union Park. The lineup is out — or at least part of it — and so far it looks like another strong showing.

Fleet Foxes will breeze into the windy city on the heels of their latest record and will share time with Animal Colective (who couldn’t be more different), TV on the Radio and Cut Copy, also with a new album. Others include the Dismemberment Plan, Deerhunter, Destroyer, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, James Blake, OFWGKTA, Das Racist, Kylesa, Curren$y (wonder if they know Ke$ha), Woods, Yuck and Sun Airway.

According to the website, “many more” will be announced soon.

UPDATE: More bands have been announced. Below is the schedule so far…

Friday, July 15

Animal Collective, Neko Case, Guided By Voices, James Blake, Das Racist, Curren$y

Saturday, July 16

Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, No Age, Gang Gang Dance, G-Side, Woods, Sun Airway, Kylesa, Chrissy Murderbot

Sunday, July 17

TV on the Radio, Cut Copy, Deerhunter, Destroyer, OFWGKTA, HEALTH, Kurt Vile, Yuck, The Fresh & Onlys, Radio Dept., Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Twin Sister, How to Dress Well

Tickets go on sale today, March 4, at 12 PM CST.

Want to go to Lincoln Hall … for FREE?