Alas, another band we as music fans must bid farewell to in 2016, The Go Go’s have called it quits after a run that has spanned five decades since their inception in 1978. Currently saying their goodbyes on their Going, Going Gone Farewell Tour, The Go Go’s now join a slew of other 2016 retirees such as Black Sabbath, Kenny Rogers, Motley Crue, Sandi Patty and The Who. Slated as possibly the most successful all-female band of our time, Chicago area fans got to see the new-wave-pop driven California band one last time when The Go Go’s performed at Ravinia Festival over the weekend. With most band members now in their mid to late fifties, their youthful spirit and magnetic charm were still ever apparent, their musicianship polished and their set as exciting as it was in the 1980’s.
Opening acts Kaya Stewart then Best Coast set the tone nicely for the evening, Stewart more eclectic and the latter more Rock N’ Roll, though it couldn’t be soon enough for The Go Go’s to take the stage. And once they did, the band wasted little time before diving into their opening number “Vacation”, one of their most successful hits (you remember that crazy water skiing video). In a set that not only included the band’s top forty singles “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Our Sealed” (which I embarrassingly used to sing as “Honest Lucille”), The Go Go’s lit it up with a handful of cover tunes including The Sparks’ “Cool Places” and The Capitols “Cool Jerk”. The band also performed a couple songs from the very early days that had never made it onto their records and played a beautiful version of Belinda Carlisle’s solo hit “Mad About You”.
And the band looked and sounded great. Did I mention that?
Singer Belinda Carlisle swayed beautifully to the music, throwing in some of her well-known, carefree go-go-esque moves and sounded, well…amazing. Carlisle was radiant, exuding the same fun nature that captured Go Go fans when they really broke out in the early 1980's. At the same time, spunky rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin was a ball of energy, still exhibiting the major band presence Go Go’s fan have become acquainted with over the years. Whether spinning in circles, jetting across the stage, interacting with the crowd or playing on her back, Wiedlin had no shortage of oomph, assuring fans that her Vitamin B intake is quite plentiful. Gina Schock was rock steady on the drums and Charlotte Caffey impressed with guitar leads and her prowess on the keyboards, rounding out the band's sound.
But their music wasn’t the only excitement that night. Schock did her best to get the crowd going when she took the microphone and asked those in seats further from the stage to come forward and grab the scattered empties towards the front causing a bit of a stir for a brief moment or two. As security tried to maintain order, Schock chanted “Let them sit! Let them sit!” But Ravinia’s staff handled it well and a few lucky fans got an instant ticket upgrade. Despite the momentary chaos, the band clicked and the fans ate it up.
Taking their first bow after a fulfilling fifteen songs worth of material, The Go Go’s quickly returned wrapping the night up with Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” before ending on what many consider to be their best song of all, “Head Over Heels.”
The Go Go's really made their mark in music history and when you think of all the female fueled bands since to which The Go Go's paved the way it's not just an extraordinary achievement, it's an enrichment to one of the truest art forms that exists. But all good things come to an end sometime. After seeing them perform, it's easy to see that they could still have plenty of productive years ahead as a band. However, when it's time to go, it's time to Go Go.
This final Go Go’s tour seemed to be made for Ravinia and for the band’s fans who missed this show, well…you really missed out on a special farewell. Thumbs up, Go Go’s!
When Black Sabbath formed in 1968, who would have guessed they would be playing a farewell tour 48 years later? In fact, after their notorious partying throughout the mid-1970s, who would have thought they’d all still be alive? But here they are, circling the world once more with a collection of Sabbath hits to satisfy their most hardcore of fans, and then some. Only original drummer Bill Ward sits on the sidelines, much to the dismay of Sabbath fans, thanks to a dispute between the famed band members. In the meantime, Ozzy Osbourne along with guitarist Tony Iomi and bassist Geezer Butler take to the stage Tommy Clufetos, Ozzy’s solo drummer. The tour, simply called The End kicked off in Omaha on January 20th.
Black Sabbath is not only responsible for countless bands in the metal genre as a true pioneer in their music field, they have also survived in many ways most bands could not. One of the few bands that maintained their success level after changing lead vocalists - Ronnie James Dio in 1979 then Ian Gillan in 1983 – Black Sabbath remained in the forefront of heavy metal and even found moderate triumph when switching to more unknown singers (Glenn Hughes, Tony Martin) before reuniting with Dio in 1992 for the Dehumanizer album. After bringing back Martin for two albums in the mid-nineties, the band found big success once again touring alternately with Osbourne and Dio. In 2013 Black Sabbath released their first album with Osbourne since 1978’s Technical Ecstasy, a release that received critical acclaim, modestly titled 13.
With dates scheduled through September, Black Sabbath’s second stop on their new – and final – tour was Chicago’s United Center. With crowd pleasing support from The Rival Sons, Sabbath started off their set by kicking into the powerful self-titled song “Black Sabbath”, a song that features the dreaded devil’s fifth. Naturally the band threw their most notorious hits into the mix like “Iron Man”, “N.I.B.” and “War Pigs”, but most impressive was their use of lesser played songs over the years like “After Forever”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, “Under the Sun” and a song they haven’t played live since 1978, “Hand of Doom”.
The set props were as basic as they should be for the metal icons – stacked amplifiers lined up behind the musicians and an overhead jumbo screen for the benefit of those with farther seats from the stage. It wasn’t until the last few songs that pyrotechnics were used, allowing fans to devote their focus entirely on the band and its music. While Iomi and Butler’s riffs were as punctual and deadly as ever, Osbourne struggled with his range often dropping out when attempting to hold a note or singing a key or two below the song as we know it. And so what. Osbourne’s performance was still inspiring. The now 67-year-old singer had command of the crowd since walking onto the stage, getting the arena to clap, cheer and shout simultaneously as had had been doing since the 1970s, but most of all he seemed to be having the time of his life – and that’s the Ozzy we all have come to know and love.
Black Sabbath played just one song of their latest release 13, “God is Dead?” though “The End of the Beginning” might have been the more desired choice off that album. Still, it was played with the flavor and power we can only except and Black Sabbath song to be played. Surprisingly, the band did not play anything off Ozzy featured albums Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Sabotage, and not so surprisingly Never Say Die. Still, no complaints on their set list, as it was both fulfilling and played with the ass-kicking punch as only Butler and Iomi can deliver. Sabbath chose to incorporate a heavy dose of the Paranoid album, reaching into it for six of their set’s sixteen songs.
After rattling off a blistering version of “Paranoid”, the final number on the 13 Tour and finale for Sabbath’s previous Omaha date, Osbourne and company left the arena of screaming fans with an earth-shaking effort of “Children of the Grave”.
For metal lovers, seeing Black Sabbath perform is a must. For Sabbath lovers, you can’t really see them enough no matter what incarnation but especially with Ozzy himself at the helm. Fortunately, if you missed the United Center show, the band will return on September 4th at The Hollywood Amphitheatre in Tinley Park for their final goodbye to Chicago. After all, this is The End.
Set List United Center January 22nd Show
Fairies Wear Boots
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
God Is Dead?
Under the Sun
Children of the Grave
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