Ravinia Festival, June 25, 2010
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Ravinia is located in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb near the shores of Lake Michigan. The park opened in 1904 and was designed to attract riders to the new Chicago & Milwaukee Electric Railroad. Ravinia originally consisted of a baseball diamond, fountain, theater and casino with restaurants and a dance floor.
Today, Ravinia is the oldest outdoor music festival in North America. The baseball diamond is gone, but the park is still known for fine dining and world-class music. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays here during the summer, and enjoying a picnic while listening to music under the stars is a time-honored tradition.
Once again, another excellent show from the Moodies! After an extremely stormy week and a very hot day, the temperature and atmosphere at Ravinia that evening were absolutely perfect. The band was "note perfect" all night, and to me the sound mix and volume were just right. The Moodies were just one week into their summer tour and were full of enthusiasm and energy.
I must comment on the beautiful lighting effects during the show. This was the sixth time I've seen the band in three years, and their light show just keeps getting better and better. The brilliant pinks and greens and the graphics behind the stage were just stunning. I especially enjoyed the effects during Late Lament, when Graeme took his place in the center of the platform to recite his epic poem. From the platform at his feet, bright streaks of light shot up into the rafters to form a starburst pattern, and a revolving light fixture next to him sent out swirling points of light to create a dizzying disco-ball effect. It was very beautiful, and visually it was my favorite part of the show.
The fog machine was very much in evidence during some of the slower songs. The people in the first two or three rows wound up swallowing a good portion of the fog that rolled off the stage. Even though there was no wind, it seemed to drift in my direction, and once or twice I couldn't see anything at all!
Alan is the new keyboardist this year, and although I couldn't see him very well, when I did look in his direction he was jumping up and down, clapping his hands over his head and generally having a great time. Even though he has a solo career of his own, it's obvious that he loves being a part of this band.
This was perhaps a different crowd from the usual Moodies concert, since Ravinia is heavily supported by memberships. It took awhile for the show to gain momentum where the audience was concerned. That didn't stop the pavilion from being filled with the sound of thousands of people singing along to the slow portion of Question, and Justin stopped singing briefly to allow us to fill in, as he sometimes does.
There were two large video screens to the side of the stage. They showed some great closeup views, accompanied by graphics and fade effects that made the show look like a professionally-filmed DVD. This was especially beneficial for the lawn patrons who were able to watch the show from the back railing.
There were 18,000 people at Ravinia that night, a capacity crowd. The traffic getting into and out of the park was terrible, which is my only criticism of the park itself. There were no mosquitoes, just a few other bugs flying around, which bothered the band a little bit but left the audience alone.
The combination of beautiful weather and great music made this a night I won't forget.