Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tom Jones at Ravinia

The heat wave continued this weekend, so what better than to spend an afternoon eating and drinking wine at an outdoor concert venue - the fabulous Ravinia Festival - listening to Tom Jones and Etta James?

Dave and I heard Tom Jones two years ago at House of Blues in Chicago, so we knew he'd put on a quality show. He didn't disappoint us. The man hasn't lost an ounce of charisma over the years.

For this show, 10 of us carpooled together and set up a spread on the Ravinia lawn. We were there two hours early, so were able to stake out a decent location that was soon fully shaded. We rented a table and chairs and relaxed in the 90-some degree weather.

The grass was incredibly soft and the sound system on the lawn was great. Nobody cared that we couldn't actually see any of the performers. That wasn't the point of getting lawn tickets at Ravinia. It's all about the atmosphere and the picnicking. Plus, we were able to wander up to the pavilion and steal a glance at the stage.

A former coworker and boss of mine, Nick, works for the festival, so I was able to meet up with him and rehash some old times at the newspaper. I had a moment of doubt that I'd recognize him in the crowd - I'd only run into him once in seven years - but the moment I spotted him, I had to laugh at myself. Dummy, that's Nick, and he hasn't changed much at all! Unfortunately, we didn't have nearly enough time (in my opinion) to reconnect.

About the only complaint I have about Ravinia is that it's too far away. It's a selfish complaint, I confess. But that won't stop us from going again in September to hear/see Cheap Trick. Maybe I can catch up with Nick then, too.

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