October 26, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
There’s a telling moment in a video interview where George Michael talks about what has driven his success. “It’s not the something extra that makes a star. It’s the something missing.”
Michael grew up overweight and struggling with acne in an unremarkable corner of London when, like so many adolescents before him, he saw music offering him a way out. Fueled by his dreams, at age 18, Michael started the pop duo Wham! with his musical partner Andrew Ridgeley. They were soon vying with Duran Duran and Culture Club for status as the #1 pop band in Britain. By age 22, the young man who felt something missing had written a series of chart-topping singles for his band and guided the group to sell an astonishing 28 million records in just four years’ time.
But still he hungered for more. And so George Michael launched his solo career in search of the recognition as a serious songwriter that he felt had eluded him.
Success was immediate. Faith, the first George Michael solo album, delivered no less that six Top 5 singles, and went on to sell 28 million copies around the world, 10 million of them here in the U. S. By the age of 25, he was an international superstar.
For our next performances, Great Moments in Vinyl plays tribute to George Michael at the peak of his fame by celebrating his landmark album Faith and reveling in its more introspective follow up Listen Without Prejudice. Plus, we’ll guiltlessly enjoy some of the best moments of his days with Wham!
Just like George Michael himself believed, “You got to have faith!” And so we will! October 26th at Martyrs'.
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Tickets available through martyrslive.com.
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Friday, August 18, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The Allman Brothers Band made a name for themselves with their live shows powered by the fiery slide guitar of Duane Allman and the sweetly singing leads of Dickey Betts. For our next tribute, we'll showcase the band's phenomenal two-record set, At Fillmore East, by pairing local guitarist-to-watch, Bill Grady, with Chicago veteran Richard Pettengill for some six-string rock and blues fireworks, aided by keyboardist Dan Ingenthron, drummers Benji Shefler and Peter Manis, harmonica player Bob Kessler, and GMiV founder William Lindsey Cochran on bass. Come for the music and enjoy the stories about the Allmans and the album that made them stars.
Saturday, August 5, 2017 • Wire, Berwyn, IL
It was the era of both The Summer of Love and The Vietnam War. It was the era that gave us Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Richard Nixon. It was the end of the Sixties. And as the wave of music from the British Invasion evolved into something less idealistic and darker, The Rolling Stones found themselves revitalized with a fresh burst of creativity that began with the single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and continued through four successive albums that are considered the best that they—or any other band—have ever released.
Great Moments in Vinyl celebrates The Rolling Stones at the peak of their powers by performing Let It Bleed and Exile on Main St. in their entirety.
July 13, 2017 • Joliet Historical Museum, Joliet, IL
July 14, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The “White Album” is a remarkable accomplishment. It’s the product of a band on the verge of breaking up. John and Paul were rarely working as a songwriting team by this point. George was coming into his own as a songwriter. Far from being a cohesive band project, it feels more like excerpts from four different solo albums.
And yet, it all works. So much so that it has become a standard by which other bands’ albums are measured. So much so that it has been widely praised as not only one of the best albums The Beatles ever released,...but also as one of the best albums any band ever released.
Here in the U. S., The Beatles new double record set was put on sale for $11.79. That was more than twice the cost of a standard single LP release at the time. But fans didn’t care. In less than a month, the “White Album” sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
May 24, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
There was a time when R. E. M. was just a scruffy young band from some far off place in Georgia named Athens. Peter Buck once described his group as “the acceptable edge of the unacceptable stuff.” But within only a few years of their debut, R. E. M. broke through to national recognition and mainstream success, overturning expectations along the way. As journalist Anthony DeCurtis once wrote, “fans had heard their own ‘Radio Free Europe’ – a blast of revolutionary fervor broadcast behind enemy lines to rally a previously dormant population.”
Great Moments in Vinyl celebrates Lifes Rich Pageant and Document, two albums that started transforming R. E. M. from college rock heroes into arena-filling rock stars. Whether it’s Buck’s jangly guitar lines or Michael Stipe’s “Finnegans-Wake-by-way-of-Faulkner” lyrics or Mike Mills’ well-considered countermelodies or Bill Berry’s propulsive drumming, R. E. M. gave us a lot to sink our teeth into as lovers of music.
April 14, 2017 • Lake Forest College Chapel, Lake Forest, IL
Our FREE concert! And our first all ages show!
It’s been a long, strange trip since The Dead played Barton Hall on the Cornell University campus in May of 1977. Bootlegs of that show are highly regarded among collectors as one of the best concerts that legendary band ever recorded. And as the 40th anniversary of that event approaches, Great Moments in Vinyl relives that celebrated performance by presenting all the music from their setlist from start to finish, from the opening lines of “New Minglewood Blues” through the fan favorites “Jack Straw” and “Scarlet Begonias” past the not yet released “Estimated Prophet” to the climactic “St. Stephen” and the traditional closer “One More Saturday Night.”
March 23, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
Nevermind paved the way for a new era of rock, the rough and ready alternative sound that journalists labeled “grunge.” At the time, the album unseated Michael Jackson’s Dangerous at the top of the Billboard album charts, and then went on to sell 10 million copies in the U. S. and 30 million copies worldwide.
According to Rolling Stone, it was the “album that guaranteed the ‘90s would not suck.”
Great Moments in Vinyl captures the vicious joy of two of Nirvana’s best-loved albums, Nevermind and MTV Unplugged in New York, by performing them in their entirety accompanied by stories about the songs and the musicians that created them.
February 3, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
Great Moments in Vinyl packed the house at Martyrs’ with our tribute to two classic Rolling Stones albums at the beginning of December. So we’ve decided to make a roomful of music fans very happy once again with two more Rolling Stones faves.
The Stones began their career with the intention of becoming the best blues band in Britain. But by the mid-’60s they found themselves at the top of the pop charts instead. When the fad of psychedelia swept through the music world, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and the rest of the band dutifully followed suit.
It turned out that trippy lyrics and even trippier music wasn’t a good fit, and the Stones' reign at the top appeared to be coming to an end. Instead of calling it a day, the Stones got their bearings and charted a new direction for their music marrying their roots in the blues to the driving rhythms of rock and roll and serving it up with plenty of edge and attitude. The end result? Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, the first two in a string of albums the Stones released that are still considered the most memorable in rock.
September 22, 2016 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
“Some may remember May 8, 1977, as a helluva party. Some may remember it as the time a riot almost broke out on Cornell University’s campus. The world will remember it as the night the Grateful Dead played one of the greatest rock shows of all time.”
So begins a 2015 article in The Ithaca Journal celebrating the legendary night that the best jam band in the world performed for an eager and passionate crowd only to have the music and the energy documented for all time by one of the earliest high-fidelity soundboard recordings made.
Typically, when Great Moments in Vinyl takes the stage, we aim to rekindle the memories of specific studio albums. But for this concert, the band will instead be playing tribute to a bootleg recording hallowed in the Dead canon as one of their best. It's the show reverently referred to by fans as simply “Cornell ’77.”
It was a memorable set, one that showcased music from throughout The Dead’s first decade, from their debut album to their as yet unreleased forthcoming record, Terrapin Station. And as always, as Great Moments in Vinyl brings back the music, the performance will be accompanied by stories about the songs and the legendary musicians who created them.