Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience make for a powerful combination of classic rock at Northerly Island’s Huntington Bank Pavilion.

First up for the night was Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Carrying on his dad’s legacy, this is as close as you’ll get to seeing the real thing. Judging by the number of Led Zeppelin t-shirts in the crowd, there was a fair proportion of the audience there just to see them.  Bonham took time out in between songs to add anecdotes about his famous dad and the songs, paying tribute to him throughout the set. It was a short set but they made sure to include the classics – “Kashmir”, “Ramble On”, “Immigrant Song” and “Rock and Roll”. They certainly did Led Zeppelin proud with the performance they put on.

Next up were Illinois’ very own Cheap Trick. The crowd certainly didn’t need warming up but these guys certainly managed to kick things up a notch. Rick Nielsen has one of the most enviable guitar collections in the world (owning more than 400 guitars) and brought out an impressive selection, changing guitars for each song they played. Not to be out done, bassist Tom Petersson could be seen playing a twelve-string White Falcon bass. As the sun went down on Northerly Island’s Huntington Bank Pavilion, things were just starting to heat up. The Cheap Trick classic “I Want You To Want Me” had the entire audience on their feet, dancing and singing along with the hit song. “Surrender” also invoked a lively response from the hometown crowd, whilst new song, “Long Time Coming”, showed there’s plenty of life left in the band yet.

Performing what didn’t feel like the longest of sets, Foreigner managed to pack as many of their hits in as they could – which was an impressive amount. This is one of those bands where you actually know way more songs than you realize. The energy radiated off the stage and had the crowd singing, dancing and fist-pumping throughout their 13-song setlist. The night started off with “Double Vision” and kept the hits coming. Hearing songs like “Waiting For A Girl Like You” transported you back to hearing it on the radio in the 80s, or to the set of Rock of Ages.

With such a strong and expansive back catalog as theirs, it must be difficult trying to choose which songs to perform each night. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, they definitely chose well. There wasn’t a single dip in energy throughout the whole set. Having a frontman such as Kelly Hansen certainly helps to keep the audience’s attention. Jumping and dancing around the stage proved not to be enough for him. During their performance of “Juke Box Hero”, Hansen could be seen donning a Chicago Cubs shirt whilst singing from on top of a post high up in the air over the soundboard.

Foreigner have been going since 1976, this being their 40th anniversary tour, so needless to say there have been changes to the lineup along the way. However, Mick Jones is now the only remaining original member of the band, not surprising given that he was the leader and creative force behind the band. It was great to see him perform along with the newer band members, who are continuing the legacy. If you closed your eyes when listening to them perform, you ‘d be forgiven for thinking it was the original lineup. Hansen’s voice is eerily similar to Lou Gramm’s.

You couldn’t have a show like this without having the good old power ballad. Cue the Chesterton Sandpipers Choir taking to the stage to help with the backing vocals of the classic “I Want To Know What Love Is”. There was barely a single person in the crowd not swaying side-to-side, arms around their loved ones and singing with all their heart the only way you can to an 80s power ballad.

There’s no better way to enjoy a summer evening in Chicago than enjoying hit song after hit song by the lake front, watching the sun set behind the city skyline. Life and work stresses have no place here. This was one of those nights were you could leave everything at the door and enjoy yourself. It truly was a fun show which continued on right to the very last note of “Hot Blooded”.

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Cheap Trick
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Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
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Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
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Event Date: 09-AUG-2017

About The Author

Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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