2016 Live Show Retrospective



This was not a banner year for me with live shows, maybe that’s something that naturally happens when you are in your 30’s. I would rather see an intimate acoustic show or a podcast taping than getting in the mosh pit like I have in the past. However these few shows were mostly incredible, from getting to book a guest on The Adam Carolla Show to seeing Billy Corgan do a inspired acoustic set to 35 people at his Tea House, these are memories I won’t soon be forgetting. Thanks to everyone who read my reviews or listened to The Andy Derer Show throughout 2016! Here is my 2016 Live Show Retrospective presented in reverse chronological order…


Gza (of Wu-Tang Clan) @ City Winery Chicago

Gza of Wu-Tang Clan performing Liquid Swords with full live band

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Seeing this legendary Wu-Tang affiliated rapper live at a ritzy wine bar may not have been the most proper talent/venue pairing, but Gza’s acrobatic flow and singular content (Chess / Kung Fu movies) made for a fun evening.

The Adam Carolla Show with Steve Dahl @ The Vic Theatre

Since his days with Dr. Drew on Loveline and with Jimmy Kimmel on The Man Show, Adam Carolla has always proven to be a true improvisor, doing 90 minute shows with nary a note or set list. This live podcast taping found Carolla riffing all things Chicago with the man who established the whole disc-jockey rockstar lifestyle (Steve Dahl) back in the 70s. It was a real cool thing for me to help book this evening!

Kevin Matthews with Pugs Moran @ Taste Of Chicago

An icon of midwest rock radio, Kevin Matthews made a rare return to Chicago to promote his new book Broken Mary and ex-producer Pugs Moran picked his brain for 90 minutes discussing Kevin’s whole story. A great afternoon podcast taping at the Radio Misfits Food For Thought Tent at the Taste Of Chicago.

Phish @ Wrigley Field

First time seeing Phish.

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While I’ve respected from a afar the music of Phish for two decades, the whole hippie / jam band / university scene always gave me the heebie-jeebies. This summer show did nothing to change my feelings, with a bored Phish going through the motions to a stadium full of woozy caucasians. Sure they are talented musicians but their music is wrung completely empty of any emotion other than doe-eyed happiness. My first time and most likely my last time.

Billy Corgan & Jeff Schroeder @ Madame Zuzu’s Tea House

A cool thing about being a two-plus decade fan of my hometown heroes The Smashing Pumpkins is to see Billy Corgan follow his muse through the world of independent wrestling and now being the owner/proprietor of a throw-back bohemian Tea House in Highland Park, IL. This acoustic set was super intimate (a crowd of about 35 people) with a warm, relaxed atmosphere seeing Billy and his SP guitar foil Jeff Schroeder working through SP songs and covers like The Velvet Underground’s “Who Loves The Sun” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The set was also recorded directly on to reel-to-reel tape. Each person in attendance was also given a poster, a cup of tea and a vegan brownie and also a chance to see Mr. Corgan caring to his new born baby Augustus Corgan. An unforgettable night!

Art Alexakis @ City Winery Chicago

Art Alexakis live acoustic and solo tonight at City Winery Chicago.

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The City Winery Chicago continues to provide intimate paired-down acoustic shows from some big names. Art Alexakis, the man behind Everclear, was captivating as a storyteller for this “Songs & Stories” show. Nearly half of his set was comprised of stories, telling tales of his rough-upbring in California, his problems with addictions and his four marriages. Let’s just say there was a lot to talk about. He is certainly an accomplished songwriter with more hits than you can count.

Local H @ Metro Chicago

This show found Local H playing their 1996 breakthrough As Good As Good in it’s entirety with Joe Daniels, their original timekeeper, coming on a a guest. The final set with both drummers bashing away brought the crowded, sweaty Metro to an absolute boil.

The Smashing Pumpkins with Liz Phair @ Civic Opera House

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Part of their In Plainsong tour, The Pumpkins brought a classy, formal look into some of their more hushed musical moments to the lovely Civic Opera House. With opener Liz Phair and a guest spot from original Pumpkin James Iha, the Pumpkins are finally embracing their past and this night found them in fine form.




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