for any of you who aren't from Chicago, or haven't spent enough time around there, Ravinia is a large outdoor concert venue out in Highland Park, one of the 'burbs. it's a nice time...people bring picnics, blankets, wine...and watch a show in the evening. i've been there a couple times. it's obviously not my favourite venue in the area, since there's no way a mosh pit is ever going to start there. but, it's a nice night out with friends.
Ravinia is a venue i associated with an older crowd. i associate it with the symphony, with older acts, with people who sing standards...with things that calm adults listen to. this is why several of the acts they're bringing there this year really confuse me. they make me feel old--because they are acts i actually remember from when i was young and easy...observe:
- Hootie and the Blowfish, July 25: there's something just wrong about the band who put out the first CD i ever bought...now playing Ravinia. i'm glad they're still together, and i'm glad they're playing the occasional large venue. but, a large venue i associated more with wine than beer? for one of the quintessential Nineties Bar Bands Gone Big? sigh. hand me my walker.
- Sheryl Crow, August 10: okay, so she plays the kind of poppy-yet-singer-songwriter-y music that i'd expect to see at Ravinia, especially over these last few years when they've been trying to cultivate a cooler image among old people. this isn't a stylistic thing. but..."All I Wanna Do" is one of the defining pop songs of the nineties! i still remember being in the car and hearing it on the top 40! seeing her at Ravinia is an extremely unpleasant reminder that Tuesday Night Music Club turns fifteen this year!
- The Backstreet Boys, August 24: that's right. there is still such an entity as The Backstreet Boys, and they're playing Ravinia. i'm so curious about the crowd that this show would draw. current teenyboppers? people around my age who may have been teenyboppers ten years ago, and are trying to relive the days of Boy Bands, Pop Tarts, and TRL? old people who don't know any better, and just want to go out for a picnic that night? i almost want to go to this show just to people-watch, and figure out who actually goes to Ravinia to see a reconstituted nineties boy band.
- Jonny Lang, August 28: sure, he's opening for Buddy Guy. i may be cheating here. but, still, there's the shock of seeing yet another nineties MTV staple on the Ravinia lineup. (i can't be the only one here who remembers being really, really sick of "Lie to Me", right?!) and, to add insult to injury, he was born in 1981! he's a year older than i am!
- Donna Summer, August 30: this is a break from the promised theme of my rant, i know. this won't lead to a rant about how old certain highlights of Ravinia's lineup make me feel, since she was before my time. i just don't visualize a large, sprawling, outdoor venue like Ravinia as being a good place to listen to disco music. the little devil on my shoulder is telling me to buy some bell-bottoms and a really shiny shirt, put on some outlandish makeup,and disco-dance around the venue all night...just to be silly. who's with me?