A great night of pure rock n’ roll by the legendary Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul at the Chicago House of Blues.

Little Steven, aka Steven Van Zandt, is back! As he said himself, “it’s only taken 20 or 30 years”, but Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul finally released their sixth album, Soulfire, back in May. They are currently rounding out their 18-date US tour before heading over to Europe. 

The night begins with a cover of “Even The Losers”, a fitting tribute to the late, great Tom Petty. It was a beautiful way to start the show and honor an artist whose music has influenced so many throughout the music industry, and whose loss is one the world is still trying to come to grips with. 

Laying down the ground rules for the night, Little Steven let everyone know that tonight was not about politics, as we have enough of that everywhere. This is a night just about the music, and boy, it was certainly that.

Being an impressive 15-piece band, they certainly pack a punch. Each member of the band is equally as talented as the next, and Little Steven makes sure everyone gets their moment front and center. Particular mention must go to Marc Ribler who is the Musical Director as well as being a masterful guitarist.

Wearing his iconic bandana, Little Steven’s entire appearance and swagger screams “Rock Star” (this would be the case regardless of whether you saw him walking down the street to buy a bottle of milk or standing up on a stadium stage). Whilst a lot of people obviously know him as being part of the E Street Band, nights like tonight remind us of everything he has achieved over his long career. He has a long history of writing, co-writing, or producing songs for the likes of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, a band which he co-founded. Tonight he got to perform some of these songs for the Chicago crowd. “I Don’t Want To Go Home” is just one of the songs he wrote for Southside Johnny, and has now recorded with the Disciples of Soul. It appears on Soulfire.

With so many feathers in his cap, it is not surprising that Van Zandt’s music moves across the genres. The set tonight starts out with somegood old fashioned rock n’ roll, wanders through the blues, throws in some soul and adds sprinkling of reggae and world music. “The City Weeps Tonight” particularly stood out amongst 24-song setlist. This doo-wop song is an outtake from his Men Without Womenalbum and was a particular foot-stomper. 

Setting the scene between the songs, Little Steven spoke about how people in the seventies were genuinely unsure of what was going to happen in the world, and that he felt moved to write a song about it. The song was “Love On The Wrong Side Of Town”, which he co-wrote with Bruce Springsteen for Southside Johnny. This is another song he has now recorded for himself and it also appears on the new album. The band managed to build the crowd up into a frenzy as the song built up to its crescendo finale which was greeted with raucous cheers and applause.

For those Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fans, don’t worry – he hasn’t left. He is just taking the time to get out on the road and showcase his own material while his other ventures aren’t touring. And anyway, what else would he do with his downtime.  Watching him tonight you can’t help but feel that he is probably more comfortable spending an evening on stage performing for an audience than he would be lounging on his sofa.

This was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday night. In typical style, there was no opening act with the band cutting right to chase with over two hours of fantastic music.  The audience wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Little Steven and the Disciples of  Soul
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Event Date: 08-OCT-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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