Welcome to ChicagoConcertgoers.com! It’s my site, but I hope you make it yours, too. It’s designed to be an online community for fans of live music to talk about concerts, music and more. I’m doing my best to make it worth your time.
The seed for the site was planted when I attended my first concert, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1982. I was 15. The fair was a family stop on the way back from a fishing vacation at my dad’s trailer on the Wolf River. I still remember laying in a lumpy pullout bed in the kitchen of the trailer, listening in the dark to a radio crackling with static when I heard a promo for the concert. I knew I had to see it. When we arrived at the fairgrounds the next day, my parents bought me and my sister Michele tickets to the show and said they’d meet us after the concert. My sister and I climbed to our seats in the grandstand surrounded by a wide variety of people. Once Joan Jett hit the stage below us in the infield of the auto track, the music blasted me like in the old Maxell cassette ad. The sound was loud and packed a punch. You could feel it. Before long, some of the old people in the stands couldn’t take it and left shaking their head. I loved it! I felt like Alice falling through the rabbit hole.
The person who gave me the key to the door to a lifetime of rock and roll is Bruce Springsteen. I first saw him in 1985 at Soldier Field. That three-and-a-half hour show changed my life. I was physically floored by the end of the monumental performance on that ridiculously hot August day, but my spirit soared. It was like I received a shot of adrenaline in my heart and brain at the same time. I left the show feeling like I could do anything. Everything felt possible.
That concert helped lead me to my dream job of being a sports writer. That’s how I made my living for 20 years. Then the Daily Herald laid me off as I became one of thousands of journalists across the country to fall victim to a newspaper industry crash coinciding with a failing economy. It took me a long time to find another job, but I never stopped going to concerts.
The first show I saw after losing my job? Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The Blackhearts have changed, but Joan’s still kicking out the jams like the first time I saw her. I’ve seen hundreds of concerts. My hearing sucks, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. Some of the best times of my life have come inside clubs and arenas watching artists deliver inspiring performances. I’ve seen some incredible shows, including many by the Boss, but perhaps the topper was Patti Smith in 1998 at the Riviera.
I like everything about going to a show from getting excited before it to talking about it afterward. One of the things I love is swapping concert stories with fellow fans. I like hearing what other people have to say. I like reading newspaper reviews. I like reading music magazines. I like reading music books. I like reading about music online.
The idea for this site popped into my head after seeing the Pretenders at the Riviera. I obtained a setlist after the show and noticed Chrissie Hynde had changed the order of some songs. When I got home, I searched online for the exact order the songs were played, and wanted to read about what others thought about the concert. I came up empty.
It wasn’t the first time I couldn’t find anything written about a concert. I’m hoping this site will change that. If you have a passion for music, please take the time to share it. I want to know what you think, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Support your favorite band. Promote an underrated artist. Champion an up-and-coming group. Tell the world about the great show you just saw when the singer didn’t want to go home and neither did you.
And in the name of Buddy Holly…