Sunday, July 01, 2007

Kenny Rogers rocks the Taste of Chicago

After waiting around for 3 hours in the morning for Stanley Steemer to arrive, I was free to enjoy the beautiful day in Chicago yesterday. It was a perfect 80 degrees with a breeze, so I took my dog for a walk along the lake and then got ready to go see none other than Kenny Rogers at the Taste of Chicago - for free! God Bless America!

Even though I'm not a huge country music fan, I have listened to Kenny Rogers' music since I can remember - I think he's one of those artists who has transcended his musical genre and many of his songs appeal to everyone. So I was EXTREMELY excited when I found out that he was playing at the Taste this year and that I was free to go catch the show.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my real camera, so I only had my phone with which to take this crappy picture of the scene. What I loved was that there was such a wide range of people there to see Kenny - the couple next to us was older, and the man had a black cowboy hat and boots - so he was a legit fan. They were two-stepping to a good portion of the songs, so I tip my hat to them. There was a guy in front of us who was completely tattooed - and if I had to guess his occupation, I would have said "bicycle messenger." He was sitting next to a family with small children. To the right of us stood a group of guys, all wearing matching light blue t-shirts announcing "Aaron's Last Stand" - clearly a bachelor party. They definitely had a few drinks in them as they were attempting to "fast dance" to slow songs such as "Through the Years." But my point is that all ages and all races were represented in the Kenny Rogers concert audience, and not only did everyone look extremely happy to be there, but most were singing along with every song.

Kenny himself sounded good - his voice has gotten much raspier, but is still unmistakably his. However, as you may know, he got plastic surgery and no longer LOOKS the same - witness the "before and after" below:

Kenny was quite the jokester during the show - he talked to the crowd A LOT - sharing many of the stories behind certain songs, or fan reactions to songs he's received through his web site over the years. I was surprised at how funny he was, and I commented to a friend that you could tell that at this point in his career, he was clearly just enjoying being on stage and interacting with his fans. This morning I read a review of a show he did over a year ago in Reno, and it sounded like he did the EXACT SAME spiel there, so I guess he wasn't just in some rare form in Chicago but rather, he has his routine down pat.

"The Gambler," my personal favorite of all of his songs, was performed about half-way through the show. He also then did a hilarious clip of the Coolio remix of the song, entitled "The Hustler." If you type "The Hustler, Coolio" into iTunes, you can hear about 25 seconds of it, which is enough. The finale of the show was "Islands in the Stream" (minus Dolly Parton), and everyone really got into it. I am so happy that I got to see him!

After I got home, I remembered the time he was on the The Muppet Show and sang "The Gambler," and how it really freaked me out at the time. I mean, one of the muppets DIES in it?!?! This is a song with gambling, drinking and smoking in it, so I think it is awesome that it was on The Muppet Show back in the day, because you know we've gotten too PC now to ever allow anything like that to happen again. If you want to be transported back in time, I found the clip here on YouTube. I was no longer scared by it!

- e


maikib said...

seriously-- i'm going to start stalking you so i can tag along to all these concerts...

maikib said...

(well, and also because i like hanging out with you!!)