Groove Line

Thu. July 22, 2004 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Madonna Concert - Part 1
I went with friends to the Monday night show of Madonna’s Re-Invention concert tour when it hit Chicago last week. While we had 300 section seats (that’s the nose bleed section in case you haven’t been to the United Center), you can imagine our shock when a total stranger came up to us in our seats and gave us tickets for front row center on the floor. AMAZING!! Apparently, Madonna has had some bad experiences previously with too much dead weight (industry folks and corporate types) in the front rows actual sitting throughout the concert, lacking energy and being buzz-kills. So basically she tries to control the distribution of front row tickets in order to ensure that fun lively folks who really want to be at the concert - her fans - are standing, dancing and partying during the show. Accordingly, she has someone go up to the worst sections of the arena about 20-30 minutes before the show starts to randomly offer up complimentary upgrades. Very cool!

Stone In Love
Angie Stone is back and this time with her third solo cd, Stone Love (J Records). This neo-soul goddess – the one who sang the huge dance floor favorite “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You” – delivers diverse slices of funk, hip-hop and classic disco-soul on this cd. Her first single, “I Wanna Thank Ya” is a fun groovy summer party jam which Snoop Dog makes a guest appearance on. The several other collaborations include the outstanding “My Man” with Floetry, the retro-ish “That Kind of Love” with Betty Wright, and the sexy “Stay For A While” with Anthony Hamilton. Despite the collective efforts on Stone Love, make no mistake about it: this cd is all about Angie Stone, one of the best singers going out there in the world of music. She’s been wowing us since she first broke into our consciousness in 1999, and here in 2004 with Stone Love she continues to steal our hearts, minds, and souls with high-quality first rate music. This is a cd everyone should have not just in their collections, but in their cd players.

Loft Party Revisited
In support of their new live double CD, released earlier this month on Om Records, DJs Derrick Carter and Mark Farina will be at Zentra on Monday, August 2. This event is not to be missed as these two long-time friends and legends, who helped define and shape house music, will surely put on a show! In a summer that’s shaping up to be quite memorable for Chicagoland house-heads, this may be the most significant event of the season.

Completely Non-Music Related (It’s my column and I can write what I want) – Part 1
The movie “Anchorman” may be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Not only did I want that 90 minutes of my life back, I surely wanted back the whopping $9.25 I paid to get into the theatre. Just god awful!

Madonna Concert - Part 2
Say what you want about the current edition of Madonna, there is no denying the fact that she, along with Prince and Michael Jackson, has reigned supreme over the pop music world during the previous 25 years. Her commercial success and lasting creative imprint on music are significant. It was truly amazing to hear 18,000 people strong singing “Into The Groove” full-throated. Do you really think that 20 years from now there will be jam-packed arenas singing N’Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” or Ms. Spears’ “Toxic?” I don’t think so.

If you want a bit a real live jazz, two places immediately top the list. Jazz Showcase , on 59 W. Grand Ave. (312-670-2473) has been bringing the very best in talent – of local, national, and international fame – to Chicago for over half a century. Owner Joe Segal has dedicated himself to making sure the jazz scene in this city continues to thrive, showcasing some of the biggest names in jazz as well as featuring budding talent (I remember first being exposed to a relatively unknown Diana Krall back in the early 1990s at one of the Showcase’s formers homes on South Michigan Avenue).

Serving Chicago for even longer than the Showcase is the Green Mill at 4802 N. Broadway
(773-878-5552). This place has been around for a century! While it can be a bit on the chaotic side on weekends, this Uptown institution features touring and local acts, ranging from big band sound to a hip be-bop groove.

Completely Non-Music Related (It’s my column and I can write what I want) – Part 2
What Lance Armstrong is doing on his bike in the Tour de France is absolutely amazing. I am a huge sports fan and my wondrous admiration for his abilities, especially pedaling up those steep mountain roads, is endless. Armstrong’s feats with the incredible assistance of his U.S. Postal Cycling teammates is reminiscent of witnessing the successes of Michael Jordan with the help of tremendously talented and dedicated Chicago Bulls teams. To Lance and the rest of The Blue Train (the nickname for the U.S. Postal team): Tres bien!!

“Concert”-ed Bits & Pieces
Hydrate Chicago continues its impressive visiting DJ program as Susan Morabito takes to their booth this Friday, July 23.

Keeping with the jazz theme from earlier in this column, smooth jazz fans will note that WNUA presents Dave Koz at the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier on Saturday, July 24.

Those wanting to take in a hip-hop legend will be at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Indiana on July 24 for LL Cool J, who is there with Beenie Man.

The next editions of the DJ Electronic Music series of Chicago Summer Dance at Grant Park should be quite fun. On Wednesday, July 28 its DJ Steve “Silk” Hurley and DJ Skip spinning house, old school disco, funk and soul. Event Details

“Superjane in the house!” DJs Colette, Heather and Lady D on the decks at Metro Smart Bar on July 29.

The always interesting Chris Isaak will be at the House of Blues on Sunday and Monday, July 25 & 26, while that same venue hosts Jill Scott the following week on August 1 & 2. The HOB then gets its duster out for an appearance by David Cassidy on August 5.

Remember Boyz II Men and En Vogue? They’re at the Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana on July 31.

The brothers who make up Hanson are now post-adolescent, still pumping out decent music, and return for two shows in the Chicago area: on July 31 at Navy Pier (Skyline Stage) and on August 12 at the House of Blues.

Grace’s husband, Harry Connick Jr., will be at the Rosemont Theatre on Thursday, August 5.