In Concert

A line up of multi-talented artists made their Ravinia debut this past Sunday for a night of music for the romantics, the lovers and even the unloved.  “Thank you for letting me break your hearts for a little while,” introduced us to Rachel Yamagata who took to the stage as the show opener. She is currently working on a new album, continuing her tour and now celebrating the ten-year anniversary of her first release “Happenstance.” Playing the piano, a guitar and plucking on a kalimba, she showed intriguing talent.  Although new to the Ravinia stage, it was nice to hear music from so many TV hit series soundtracks (E.R., The O.C, One Tree Hill, Brothers & Sisters, and How I Met Your Mother) come to life on stage in the sultry and soothing voice of Yamagata.

Amos Lee then strode onto the stage in a black velvet jacket, vest, worn jeans, scruffy beard and black sunglasses, picked up his guitar and drove us into summer with “Windows are Rolled Down.” Surrounded by his very talented band, Zach Djanikian (guitar), Andy Keenan (Guitar), Jaron Olevsky (Keyboard), Annie Clements (Bass) and Fred Berman (Drums), Lee showcased his range, tone and powerful singing voice. Many of the numbers showcased the talents of his band. Original songs like “Rainbow”, “Jesus” and “Flower” were peppered with covers of “No Woman No Cry” and interpretations of well-known favorites like the Cranberries’ “Zombie” and a shout-out for Pride Week (both of which received a standing ovation). Lee got the crowd dancing with “Jump On It.”  Suffice it to say, Amos Lee brought the house down during his Ravinia debut.

With some technical difficulties and a louder, more anticipated second entrance David Gray finally took his seat at the piano and his very polished band took to the stage.  The crowds drew closer together and couples started swaying among the gates and the picnic tables as he began his set with “Birds in the High Arctic.”  Keeping the crowd entranced and romanced amidst the stars and candlelit tables, Gray performed “Back in the World,” “My Oh My”, “Nemesis” and even a song dedication to Joni Mitchell (“Alibi”).  Even as the rain started to drizzle, steadfast Gray fans, sang along.  It is hard to believe that with the music career he has had in the UK, and the cascade of feeling from his song “Babylon”, that this was also his first appearance at Ravinia.

Debuts, standing ovations, romance and emotion, it was a night to remember at Ravinia. If you missed it, it will be a show worth dancing in the rain to the next time these unbelievable artists are back in town.  Keep an eye on upcoming shows and acts at Ravinia, you never know who might surprise you.

Published in In Concert



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