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By Andy Argyrakis
The Ravinia round-up 2010:
Over 50 venue debuts including Sting, Swell Season, Furtado and Train...
Mar. 12, 2010
Summer's officially in the air now that Ravinia Festival kicked into gear with a press conference overlooking downtown Chicago at the UBS Tower. After some wining and dining, venue officials unveiled the highly anticipated line-up, yielding one of the venue's most diverse and satisfying seasons to date, boasting an impressive roster of over 50 artists debuting at Ravinia for the first time throughout its illustrious history. Here's a handful of highlights spanning living legends, familiar faces and indie rock's critically acclaimed up and comers:
Vince Gill/ Saturday, June 5
The famed country crooner delivers tunes from his latest four disc box set These Days, comprised of all original material split between his core scene, along with the bluegrass, soul and roots rock traditions.
Earth, Wind and Fire/ Sunday, June 6
Earth, Wind and Fire/ Sunday, June 6 Funk's favorite sons bring plenty of hits to this inaugural Ravinia outing, including the dance in the aisle delights like "September," "Shining Star," "Let's Groove" and "That's the Way of the World."
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers/ Sunday, June 12
He may be best known as a stand-up comic, but Steve Martin's just as serious about bluegrass, as evidenced by a recent Grammy win. Expect lots of singing, peppered with stand-up tidbits.
Sheryl Crow/ Sunday, June 13
Be sure to "Soak Up the Sun" via this gal with a guitar, who's sure to sell out and pack the lawn with plenty of spirited sing-a-longs.
Backstreet Boys/ Thurs. June 17
Backstreet's back alright, which means bring the ear plugs (to avoid throngs of screaming girls) and binoculars (because pavilion seats will be almost impossible to score).
Dave Brubeck Quartet, Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis/ Friday, June 18
Three of jazz's most respected acts converge for a classy evening under the stars, guaranteed to provide some smooth toe-tapping and finger snapping.
Buddy Guy/ Saturday, June 19
Now that he's come out of winter hibernation mode at Legend's, gear up for a full-fledged assault of smokin' blues, swampy guitars and plenty of vocal gusto.
The Moody Blues/ Friday, June 25
Progressive rockers turned pop pioneers set up shop for the very first time, dusting off a treasure chest worth of hits. "Nights In White Satin" anyone?
Levon Helm and John Hiatt & The Combo/ Thursday, July 1
The double bill is a dream for singer/songwriter enthusiasts, which pairs the long time member of The Band with the '80s/'90s hit maker and scribe for the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton and B.B. King.
Cheap Trick and Squeeze/ Saturday, July 10
A homecoming show from the headliners is always a power pop treat, but you'll be "Tempted" all the more to check out this show thanks to the recently reunited openers.
The Swell Season/ Wednesday, July 14
With an Oscar under its belt for composing the music to Once, The Swell Season skyrocketed to instant fame. However the duo is more than merely a fluke as this sophisticated show of harmony-heavy indie rock is sure to prove.
Sting/ Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18
As the hands down highlight of the season (not to mention a major notch in the booking agent's belt), the longtime leader of The Police and solo innovator re-imagines his hits with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
The B-52's/ Wednesday, July 21
Between "Love Shack," "Rock Lobster" and "Roam," don't expect to sit for a single second when these party rockers bring the Funplex to town.
George Benson/ Thursday, August 19
The jazz and soul great will mesmerize on guitar and also present ultra-smooth pipes that continue to defy convention, even at this stage of veteran status.
Crosby, Stills and Nash/ Sunday, August 22
One of folk music's most beloved trios is destined to fall in love with the outdoor paradise, while their soft-spoken but lyrically potent protest anthems are sure to stir some souls.
Rodrigo y Gabriela/ Saturday, August 28
Those with discerning underground tastes are already in love with this Latin-flavored pair, but there's likely to be a whole new audience exposed to these ambitious genre blenders.
Carrie Underwood/ Sunday, August 29
After selling out last year, it's no surprise to see the "American Idol" starlet who's since blossomed into a country superstar back for some more family-friendly action.
The Beach Boys/ Wednesday, September 1
The members may have changed, but the sound remains the same thanks to a boatload of surf-pop pleasantries.
Nelly Furtado/ Friday, September 3
Between her straight up pop songs, dance floor collaborations and Latin infusions, Nelly Furtado is just as musically compelling as she is visually alluring.
Train/ Saturday, September 4
Anyone who thought Train was down for the count was proven wrong when its latest single "Hey Soul Sister" lit up the airwaves and landed on the tip of everyone's tongue.
For a complete list of performers and full concert details, log onto www.ravinia.org.