While hardly an event at which music took center stage -- hey, it's called Wingfest not Musicfest, so indeed all who attended were duly warned -- still, any function that includes a McD performance is undoubtedly worth showing up for...okay, I admit I could've done without the stampeding hordes scrambling for T-shirts midway through...and the guy dressed as a bright yellow chicken was a little disconcerting...but still -- no regrets!
Anyway, since it was also the show that arguably featured the least commentary from Michael of any I've ever experienced, the report of it on this page will necessarily be a bit more brief as well.
Be that as it may, here are a few photos and a taste of what transpired.
Joined by Lance on bodhran, Angelo on piano, and the new addition of percussionist Jim Murray, Michael opened unceremoniously with an intro-less "Arm Yourself"...
...after which Angelo switched to guitar in preparation for "Hellfire In The Holyland"
"He flipped the coin
And as he looked in wonder,
The sky, it cracked wide open...
"It was the sound of
Next came "Baby I"...
"Oh, baby I, I'm true and dutiful...
Oh, baby I, I'm pure and beautiful..."
...for a moving version of "Need Some Surrender"...
Returning to guitar, Michael next shared the second debut from his recent appearance at Chicago Street Theater, "The Lamb and The Lion"...
"Still, I wonder why do I
...before heading back to the piano once more, and embarking on another of his newer works, "Antique Store"...
"Am I just another
In the antique store?"
Taking up his guitar once again, it quickly became evident that the next song would be "Borderline", a choice that prompted some very loud whistling from a member of the crowd. Acknowledging the approval with a brief nod, Michael continued the song without further incident -- aside, that is, from some very well-deserved applause at its conclusion...
"I'm just looking for some space
Somewhere near the borderline."
Summoning the rest of the ensemble back to the stage to accompany him, Michael took a seat at the piano yet again for "Hold Back A River" (yeah, I know he's shown on guitar here, but I don't have enough piano shots -- so let's pretend!)...
"Man, I hate
When I find myself
...then (with the crowd becoming increasingly noisy) pulled out the indeed attention-capturing "Cal-Sag Road Song" to close out the first portion of his set...
"I'd had a night from Hell,
But it wouldn't be my first..."
from an artist's
After, leaving the stage briefly for some announcements by WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer (and commencement of the aforementioned T-shirt seeking stampede)...
...Michael and the band re-appeared to give it another go, beginning with the McDermott classic, "A Wall I Must Climb" -- featuring the "Lose Yourself" intro he'd commonly opened the song with for several shows a couple years back...hmm, wonder if that was a hint at the wish he might get lost himself from this particular gig...well, it certainly looks like Lance might have been thinking along those lines! (I'm kidding!)
A song that had been played to promote this event on XRT in the days leading up to it lightened the mood a bit: "Unemployed"...
filthy rich, but I
One of the show's highlights followed, a raw and rocking version of Junkie Girl -- which, incidentally, featured some fantastic backing vocals by Jim...GREAT JOB!!!
"She's my junkie girl...
She's my junkie girl..."
So great, in fact, it looks like even Michael was stopped in his tracks for a moment...
Recovering quickly, however, Michael (again accompanied by Jim) moved on to "Hand of The Hunter"...
"With my fists in
Free from the
...and "20 Miles South of Nowhere" --the latter of these a sure sign (based on its positioning in so many of Michael's shows over the past couple of years) that the set was winding down...another being Michael's breaking of his silence to thank everyone for coming and to introduce his musical comrades...
This song proved not quite Michael's last note, however, as he took a seat at the piano for one final number, "The American In Me"...
"From shore to shore, from sea to shining sea,
...immediately following which, indeed Michael left the stage for good. The "festivities" as a whole, however, were not to end quite yet...it turns out a bit of compensation for any shortcomings in the experience of Wingfest overall was still to come -- in a most intriguing and unusual form. As "luck" would have it, there were door prizes (based on randomly chosen ticket numbers), four of these to be exact -- the largest of which (in more ways than one!) was a "Road Trip Grill" (for barbecues, tailgate parties and such). And, what could be more fitting than folks actually on a "road trip" being the winners?!?!?! (Except possibly the fact that an object won at a McD event should just happen to come in Bourbon Blue!)
And beyond that even, before heading back East there was still one more tremendous surprise to come...you may recall I haven't had a photo with a certain special someone to publish on this site in quite some time -- that someone, in fact, being one of the (in my opinion, anyway) handsomest -- and sweetest -- members of the male species to have been discovered anywhere in or around the Windy City in the past decade. And, wouldn't you know, after that seemingly interminable wait, I not only got to pose with him, but was even captured on film receiving a kiss!!!
What do you mean, who's that? If you've seen the Schubas 12-27-02 review page, you must realize I could have been referring to none other than the adorable, "fat and furry" Vinnie...whose acquaintance I counted it a wonderful privilege to renew!
And, on that happy note I conclude, adding only...
Thank You, Michael (and Angelo, Lance, Jim -- and Vinnie)!
I warn you Chicago
You Bet I'll Be Back!!!