@ZackTeibloom There are few times I wish I was still in Chicago. This last week is one of them. The weather was gorgeous, the hardest rocking supergroups in the world were in town and Conan came to Chicago with two more legends. Thankfully, Brett was there to cover it all for us. Without further ado, the first of many posts for the newest member of Festival Crashers’ beta class.
@snoogans913 I knew going into this past week that it was going to be one to remember, but I still couldn’t fathom just how epic it ended up being. The week kicked off with a bang with the start of the conference finals between the Hawks and Sharks on Sunday, and as I gathered around my TV with my friends and Buffalo Joes in tow, I was already elated. I wait the entire year for playoff hockey, and here I was, in good company, watching my Hawks tear shit up on visiting ice. As you should know by now, the Hawks got the W that day, and the next game was set for Tuesday. I had a panic attack when I realized that was the very night that I’d be in the presence of rock G-ds at the Them Crooked Vultures show. So when Tuesday finally rolled around, I donned my Blackhawks skull cup and headed out to the Aragon.
I always go into shows at the Aragon with a certain sense of disappointment already aligned, I’ve been to enough shows there ruined by awful sound quality to get too excited now, but I figured if anybody could rock the Aragon right, it would be TCV. We arrived in the middle of Alberta Cross’ set and felt immediately at home amongst the crowd full of mostly drunk older males in Led Zeppelin t-shirts reminiscing about that one time they met Robert Plant after a gig in Chicago 30 years ago. I was constantly checking my trusty iPhone for the latest Hawks news as we stood and waited, but as we got further into the crowd my signal was dying. I decided that whether I was constantly updated on the game or not, the end result would still be the same, so I shut my phone off and focused all my energy on having a kick ass time. When the house lights finally dimmed, we pushed our way to the front of stage to get as close as we could to the legend that is John Paul Jones. They opened with “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I,” my favorite track off the album and rocked the fuck out of the place from that point forward.
Hommes seemed to be having a blast and Grohl never let up, pounding those drums as if he were Adam Burish and the set was…well, any poor sap who got caught in his crosshairs. Luckily there was no ref to assess a 5-minute major and Grohl continued beating the shit of his set. By the end of their encore-less set, I couldn’t have been more satisfied with what I’d just witnessed – legends doing what they do best. I couldn’t help but jump for joy as I finally checked my phone while waiting at the Lawrence L stop after the show…the Hawks had won and now were leading the series 2-0. As I lay in bed that night I thought to myself could this night be any better? It was then that I remembered I had tickets to see Conan O’Brien the next day. I slept like a baby that night.
We got to The Chicago Theatre about 15 minutes before the show was supposed to start and scoped out the scene. Just from gallivanting around the lobby I could tell the crowd was going to be a great one, and I wasn’t wrong. The opening comedian, Reggie Watts, took the stage at about 7:45, and had me laughing out loud for his entire set. His comedy style falls somewhere between Stephen Lynch and Steven Wright. His songs were hysterical, and his banter in between was even better – he kept changing his accent and I still have no clue what his actual voice sounds like.
After 30 long minutes that felt like a lifetime, a hilarious video starring a fat, bearded, post-NBC debacle Conan trying to find work played and was quickly followed up by the Legally Prohibited Band taking the stage, bringing the place to life before Conan finally appeared and received a lengthy standing ovation. Conan talked to the crowd about the whole NBC thing, while the crowd chanted things like “FUCK NBC” and “LENO SUCKS”, to which Conan replied “Yeah, I know.” Despite the fact that Conan was legally prohibited to say any disparaging remarks about NBC, he managed to work his way around it.
Cut to Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and I’m heading to my friend’s apartment in the city just so I’m closer to wherever I may need to be when the location of the show was announced at 4. The location was finally revealed…it wasn’t a venue and was simply labeled as “Marquardt Trucking Company” with cross streets but no address. After frantically searching google maps, I received a text from FC’s own @ZackTeibloom with the exact address, so I plugged it into my iPhone and we headed out. We arrived at 4:40 and there were already at least 100 people in line.
We got in line, struck up a conversation with the people we were going to be standing next to for the next four hours, cracked some beers that were handed to us by fellow fans, and waited. What could have easily been a boring 4 hour wait turned into a great experience where we met tons of cool people. At around 7:45 the line finally started moving and we were ushered into a warehouse that they had converted into a ridiculous party complete with a DJ, OPEN BAR(!!!!), giant TV screens, and advertisements for Verizon’s KIN phone that sponsored the event. I immediately grabbed as many drinks as my hands could carry, made a bee line for the guardrail and waited for The Dead Weather to melt my face off.
On Sunday afternoon, just to be consistent, we picked up a tray from Buffalo Joes and headed to my place to watch Game 4. The Hawks won, of course, sweeping the Sharks in only 4 games. For the first time in my lifetime (or at least the part of my life that I can remember) the Hawks are going to the Stanley Cup. It’s a great time to be in Chicago.