Tag Archives: Aragon

My Bloody Valentine: Live in Chicago

Kevin ShieldsMy Bloody Valentine at the Aragon Ballroom

Chicago, September 27, 2008

They had told me that it would be the loudest concert I’d ever attended. They foretold of amazing sonic onslaughts. They said that it would be unlike any other show I’d seen.

They were right.

My Bloody Valentine came to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago last Saturday, and delivered a concert at a level of intensity I don’t expect to ever see again.

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I Have Forgiven You, Morrissey

I am throwing my beefy, locker room arms around Chicago.Morrissey at the Aragon Ballroom

November 21, 2006, Chicago

I could’ve seen the Smiths on their Queen Is Dead tour in this same venue, the Aragon Ballroom, in 1986. They also played the Aragon on the first stop of the Meat Is Murder in 1985, but I hadn’t heard of them at that time.

A guy in my French class had made me a cassette with Meat Is Murder on one side and The Queen Is Dead on the other. I can’t remember why he gave it to me, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that I dressed fruity and liked Wham and a-ha. Everybody copied tapes for their friends back then. He and some of his punker friends had seen the Queen Is Dead tour, and I should’ve gone with them.

A few months later, I got my hands on a taped copy of Louder Than Bombs. By this point, I had become a fan. By the time Strangeways, Here We Come was released, I owned all of the officially released albums, and I picked up the new one after school on the day it hit stores. Of course, the Smiths had broken up by then so there would be no new music. But I had fallen deep into the world of buying imported 12″ singles and trading bootleg cassettes through the mail, so there seemed to be a never-ending supply of new-to-me material to collect and study.

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Weezer at the Aragon

What did I expect?

I had been waiting to see Weezer in concert for eight years. They’re one of my favorite bands. I think Pinkerton might be the best album of the nineties. Seriously.

I didn’t get to see them on their last little tour because I had no idea it was going to sell out as quickly as it did. This is a band who hasn’t released an album since 1996 and hasn’t had a hit since “Buddy Holly” in 1995. And suddenly they’re selling out shows in four and a half minutes. Back when they were on MTV, the only touring they did was as the opening act for mediocre acts like No Doubt.

So in November when I heard about the Yahoo Outloud tour I was all over that shit, checking the website every fifteen seconds until the tickets finally went on sale. I ended up scoring tickets for the Chicago show. This was back in November and the show was last night. I had been waiting a long time to see Weezer.

Is that why I wasn’t blown away by them? Were my expectations too high? I don’t even really know what I was expecting, but something left me feeling a little let down. Maybe it was the short set. They didn’t play for very long, and they didn’t dig very deep into their repertoire, leaving out all of their great b-sides and rarities except for “You Gave Your Love to Me Softly” which is a great song from the Angus soundtrack. Where were “Jamie,” “I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams,” and “Suzanne”?

But that’s not it. I don’t expect every band to be Bruce Springsteen and play all their obscurities over an exhausting four-hour set. And I don’t really mind letting a band play whatever they want to. Who am I to create a set list? Plus, they played a handful of new songs that all sounded good. So what was it that disappointed me?

All the songs sounded just like they sound on the albums, right down to the guitar solos. That’s sort of annoying, but hey, they sound great on the albums, so why should I bitch about that? They jumped around and acted goofy enough, the stage looked cool enough, and they played well enough, so what am I bitching about? What did I want?

I wanted to feel the thrill, the magic of a great rock show. One of those experiences that blows your head off. But I left the theatre, walked across the street to the Green Mill, drank a few draft Pabsts, and enjoyed the smooth Hammond sounds of a local jazz combo.