Chicago 7.13.00

After fighting 2 1/2 hours' worth of Chicago rush hour traffic, we dashed into the United Center to hear Ricky Skaggs already in the midst of his opening set. We breezed through the souvenir stand then headed for our rear balcony seats with t-shirts and Earl bumper stickers in hand.

Settling back into our seats, we looked around the arena, taking in the giant flying fly, and just trying to absorb the fact that we were actually here, and about to finally see the Chicks perform in person. We weren't paying very close attention to Ricky's performance until he came out and soloed a cover of "Cat's In The Cradle", accompanied only by his own acoustic guitar. It was excellent, and the Center rewarded him with a huge round of applause.

After Ricky Skaggs had finished, the stage crews went to work erecting the gigantic jeans curtain, complete with zipper. The fly began to cruise the stadium, and soon the Music Country crew came out to rouse the crowd. Being that we were up in the balcony, they never headed our way with their first row seats :-( and we whined that we'd be grateful to have the seats of those who did get upgraded to the front!

Finally, Music Country finished their "performance" and suddenly "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz was cranked up over the loudspeakers. *KICK @$$* We stood there jamming and I was thinking how the Chicks absolutely have excellent taste. The music stopped, the crowd roared, and then there was Martie's fiddle singing out the opening strains of "Ready to Run". The zipper fell and the Chicks popped out -- Ready To Run was right!

The Chicks were wearing the outfits pictured below, and they were gorgeous. Natalie managed to make the 70's Farrah-flip look fashionable again, not to mention her knee-high go-go boots! And Emily and Martie were stunning, as always. Adding to the flair of the performance were the vents with (I imagine) cool air blowing up from the stage -- something I promised myself to have if I ever managed to perform live! Anyways, the Chicks would stand over the vents throughout the performance with their hair flying. (See the cover of the "Prance" promo CD in Discography)

Case in point, Sin Wagon, which occurred in the latter half of the show. An enormous red curtain waved in the background, almost in slow motion, and the girls bent over the vents with their hair flying and TOTALLY rocking the center. It was un-believable!

Other memorable moments in the concert: A moving rendition of "Cold Day In July" was made complete by a manufactured snow shower over the stage; a slide presentation was made of old, embarrassing childhood photos and chiding banter; the girls performed a cover of Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" seated on a giant couch; the Chicks scattered throughout the stadium while they performed "Goodbye Earl" as an encore; the concert closed with the girls back onstage for "Wide Open Spaces".

Unfortunately I do not have a set list, although I will say that almost all concerts seem to have the same list. Every song from "Fly" was played EXCEPT for "Hole In My Head", much to Heather's dismay, as it's her favorite song! (The explanation we've heard was that certain portions of the song were too straining for Natalie's voice on a regular basis) From "Wide Open Spaces", what we did not hear was "Never Say Die", "Once You've Loved Somebody", and "I'll Take Care Of You".

The concert, overall, was just plain amazing. The only complaint we had was that many times the audience was singing and/or cheering so much, we could barely hear the Chicks. It may have been United Center's fault; it's hard to tell if it was poor sound or an over-exuberant crowd. Every song met with a huge response, both when it began and when it ended. It was apparent that every Chicks song is somebody's favorite! We didn't scream and cheer quite as much as we expected, but we were in such awe over just being there, our mouths were probably hanging open most of the time!

On the way out, I made Heather make another pause at a souvenir stand so I could swipe up a "Chicks...Kick Ass" hat. I didn't know, and still don't know, where I'll wear it, but somehow I just had to have it!

At any rate, we savored the moment and enjoyed everything about it that we could. We had no idea at that point that we would get tickets to two more shows. One is 10/22 in Indianapolis, and the other is 11/12 in Chicago again. Even though the set lists are the same, we know the experiences will be unique and we'll be back to share those too!

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