Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chickenfoot - Chicago Theatre -8/7/2009

Fantastic show, fantastic band.

Ok, first off. Chad Smith was out on stage about a half hour before the opening act, checking out the theatre, and hob-nobbing with the folks in front. Gave me a big laugh. Folks realizing who it was and trying to rush down there.

I was in the handicapped section to start. (Hey, I just asked what was left, and they sold it to me.) About 10 minutes before the opening act, the house manager comes up and asks if I'm alone. I say sure, she asks if she can move me "a little closer."

I say yes, and I'm led down to about the 20th row. Nice.

The opening act was great, Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam. Dave F, you would've went crazy for these guys, right up your alley. The only complaint I have is that the mix seemed to be in a frequency that went right through my head. I had a few moments when Knowles' guitar was downright painful.

So, after that, the lights go out and a tons of lights, a giant, lighted version of the "Chickenfoot" symbol, and a huge "Chickenfoot" banner lower into position. Chad Smith comes out, and just stands behind his kit for a minute, arms crossed, and surveying the crowd....then sat down and started banging away.

Look, let me get right to this. Chad Smith made this show for me. I've never seen the Chili Peppers, so I have no idea if this is his "normal" routine. Sammy Hagar, when introducing him called him the "craziest guy I know," and he lived up to that. First off, great drummer, and I can only compare it to Keith Moon, just wild, total abandon in his playing, all over the kit, but always in the pocket. He must also hit HARD, about 30 seconds into the first song, I see a broken stick come flying into the crowd.

Honestly, it was raining sticks all night. He must've thrown 30 or 35 sticks into the crowd. In some songs it seemed like every measure, a stick would go flying into the air. Then another one out, without missing a beat. It was hard to fathom how he could do all that, keep the beat, and never run out of sticks. I mean, he must've had piles of sticks behind his kit.

Plus, the dude is funny. You could see him playing with the audience the whole show, making faces, interacting directly to people in front. Totally entertaining guy. Smith also gets the line of the night, "Why are you people upstairs not standing up? We're working our balls off up here! You, in the orange shirt! Yeah YOU! Stand UP!"

Sammy was obviously having a ton of fun, and Mike Anthony was Mike Anthony. Love him to death, a stand up guy, and he was obvioulsy unleashed as far as what he was playing, and being able to hear him. Satriani was more reserved, but that's also the place that seems to be carved out for him in the group, as he's obviously the most reserved one up there.

What did come through, in spades, was that these four guys were having a ball playing together. They were not trying to trade on past glories, other than the fact of who they are, which they can't do anything about. They basically played the who album, then "Bad Motor Scooter" and "Highway Star" for an encore. No Van Halen (which would've been easy to do), no Hagar solo stuff, no Satriani solo stuff, no Chili Peppers. Though, would be funny to see Sammy sing "Give it Away," or something. LOL.

Sammy directly addressed the issue at one point, thanking the crowd for coming out even when they knew that they were going to get 100% new songs. He then went on to say that he felt Chickenfoot wasn't a "supegroup," but a cult band. Now, I don'tknow about that, but I get the sentiment.

All in all, a really, really fun show. A band very much worth seeing.

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