I Love Chicago, I’m Old, and The Best Night of Funky R&B Ever.

Age does funny things to you.

The one I think we are least likely to understand when we are young is the resistance to change.

Of course I know this to be true because I am a child of sitcoms. And each sitcom has at least one episode about the adults not “getting it.” Whatever “it” may be.

So while I am not happy that the world is moving so fast, and technology has caused us to lose an important part of our humanness by making communication impersonal and brisk. I am also increasingly disturbed by the lack of creativity found in popular movies and film.

While the former is a perfect illustration of my statement. The latter, I actually think, is a statement of truth.

So in my desire to not subject myself to constant disappointment, I spend much of my time listening to hand-picked music from generations past.

Which brings me to my point.

I love Chicago.

No, I don’t have ADD.

Two weeks ago we went out for my Brother-in-law’s birthday. He loves the city.

I loved the city in my 20’s. Now I’m old.

But for him, I would happily go into the city. Also, his new-found fame as Chicago’s premier roof-top designer has opened doors to some of the hottest restaurants – the kind with month-long waiting lists. Who was I to say no to a dinner with all the shi-shis?

Dinner was……interesting. The menu may have been written in Latin. The food? Let’s just say it was a little to “creative” for me.

But the atmosphere? Well…that was something else. This place is the see and be seen spot of Chicago, and let me tell you – the people watching was spectacular.

But frankly, when dinner was done, I figured we were going home because, did I mention I was old?

But my brother-in-law had other ideas.

“You know we are right around the corner from The Back Room.” He looked right at me.

He knew back in the day, hanging out at a jazz club was just my thing. He was goading me.

But we were old, and we had finished our shi-shi dinner at 8pm and The Back Room didn’t open until 9.

I shook my head and said, “The babysitter wasn’t expecting us to be out too late.”

Of course my brother-in-law scoffed, I knew I was being lame – I had no choice but to cave.

I got on my phone and saw that Avain Hightower and Full Circle were playing. Well Avain Hightower was the original keyboardist for The Chi-lites and had played with everyone in my R&B Hall of Fame. My excitement was piqued.

We were the first ones there. Because we’re old.

But that was perfect because we didn’t have reservations, which meant first come first serve. And we were first come, so we got awesome seats.

The Back Room is considered a Showcase Lounge, it is small. Really small. There isn’t a bad seat in the house because the house capacity is 150 if it’s 200. The waitresses were friendly, the crowd was happy, and the show started on time. 3 for 3.

Was I in for the time of my middle-aged life! Avain Hightower is just as much the high-energy showman as he was over 25 years ago. The band was HOT. They jumped right in and didn’t stop for over an hour.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching good live music I can’t stop smiling. They played everything from P-Funk to Michael Jackson to Pharell and back again. And they did every single song justice. I could not stop moving and I gotta tell you that by the time the first set was over my face hurt, my voice was going, and I was ready for more.

avain hightower.jpg

When they took a break we had the chance to hang with the drummer for a short few. My brother-in-law had bought him a drink at the bar, and he wanted to come over and meet us. I have never met a happier, more humble drummer. I have often used the term “drummer’s complex” you know, being in the back all the time doesn’t always work for a star. Nope, not this guy. He was as genuine as they come, couldn’t believe we thought he was great.

Our original plan was to leave after the first set, but we couldn’t. Babysitter be damned.

I did my best to keep track of the set-list so I could recreate it in the form of a playlist on my iTunes. I will share it with you, so you can enjoy the eclectic mix of music that made up this unexpectedly electrifying evening.

Let’s Groove

Brick House

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

Flash Light

Happy

Spanish Harlem

Got to Give it Up

Groove Me

Proud Mary

Blurred Lines

Calypso Frelimo

 

And believe it or not, it was 100 times better than even that.

Go to this link to see a live clip of them from the local TV station the day before I saw them.

 

nico osteria.jpg

 

 

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7 comments

  1. Very cool!! I’m not much for big cities but sounds like yiur brother-in-law knows you pretty well and was ready for all your arguments!! Glad you had a great time!

  2. all I want to know is, is it, “…and she’s built like a megamzon (Japanese movie) or, is it “mega maison”? (which I interpret as ‘a large house’…lol)

    (err….” yowww”)

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