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By Andy Argyrakis
Returning favorites like Sting, Sheryl Crow and Steely Dan, alongside debuts from Brian Wilson, Heart, David Bryne and Jewel amongst the highlights
March 11, 2013
There may still be snow on the ground, but that doesn't mean it's too early to start thinking about the summer, especially as far as concerts are concerned. While there are certainly countless options to choose from in Chicagoland during the year's most notoriously busy season, there's no experience quite like Ravinia Festival. In continuing with the venue's lauded tradition, 2013 once again boasts a slew of returning favorites and brand new debuts, and while there are literally hundreds of cross-genre entertainers to choose from when public tickets go on sale April 25 at www.ravinia.org, here's a sneak peak at 10 shows you simply need to see.
Sting (June 7 and 8)
Throughout the last decade, Sting's tours have centered around everything from the lute to a symphony to a reunion with The Police. Though there's never predicting exactly what musical mood he'll be in throughout a given year, the veteran's currently celebrating a major solo milestone with the recent box set "25 Years" and subsequent concert trek that finds the versatile player simply heading back to bass.
Jewel (June 16)
Fresh off the release of her first ever "Greatest Hits" compilation, Jewel is hitting the road to showcase a sophisticated songbook that stretches back to pop in the '90s through a more country-oriented mindset today. Regardless of her change in styles, the singer/songwriter is sure to recall gems like "You Were Meant For Me," "Foolish Games," "Hands" and "Standing Still."
Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty (July 2 and 3)
Few bands from the 1990s have kept up a consistent presence on the charts, though a double bill starring the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty seems to celebrate that anomaly. The Goos are gearing up for its tenth studio album "Magnetic" a little later this summer, while Matchbox Twenty just turned in "North" following yet another successful solo season for front man Rob Thomas.
David Byrne and St. Vincent (July 6)
Take one of the most eclectic and innovative alternative rockers of all time crossed with one of today's most quirky indie rockers, and the results are sure to make for an alluring evening. Though the night will certainly include some solo tunes from former Taking Heads singer turned solo star David Byrne and singer/songwriter St. Vincent, the bulk of the outing centers around their collaborative album "Love This Giant."
Sheryl Crow (July 19)
Ravinia regular Sheryl Crow is sure to sell out, if only for the fact that there's no better way to "Soak Up The Sun" than with her hit-laden show. But the singer/guitar slinger is also gearing up to go country on a new album later this fall that's rumored to have some production assistance from Brad Paisley.
Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks (July 26)
After being unceremoniously dumped by Mike Love and his "Beach Boys" brand, remaining core members Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks are putting their version of the band together. While nothing will ever compare to last year's 50th anniversary tour, there's no denying these legends still possess the ultimate songs of summer no matter what their billing.
Heart (July 29)
Recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart are sounding just as sharp as ever across its latest release "Fanatic," which mean's this career-spanning show is sure to have plenty of sparks. There's arguably no greater living female rock vocalist than Ann Wilson while her axe-slinging sister is still having no trouble shredding her way through "Crazy On You," "Magic Man" and "Barracuda." Special guest Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Foreigner) only adds icing to this classic rock cake.
Steely Dan (August 1 and 2)
Consider the crowds Steely Dan's been known to draw at this famed outdoor amphitheatre, it's no surprise to see two shows on the books once again this season. Even without new tunes per say, the duo comprised of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker boasts a rich jazz rock catalogue and always brings along one of the tightest backing bands in the business.
Journey (August 20 and 21)
For the first time in Ravinia history, arena regulars Journey set up shop to showcase its latest "Eclipse" album and plenty of past Bic flickers. While "Wheel In The Sky," "Faithfully," "Any Way You Want It" and "Lights" are all sure-fire sing-a-longs, the band can perhaps best be summarized in just three words: "Don't Stop Believin.'"
Chicago (August 24 and 25)
Last but certainly not least is a homecoming for a band that not only shares the Windy City's namesake, but also its tireless work ethic. Even though some members may have changed, the current line-up of Chicago sounds incredibly energized after 46 years in operation, all while churning out 22 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums.
A few more favorites: Jackson Browne (June 26), Melissa Etheridge, Joan Osborne and Paula Cole (June 29), The Go-Go's and The B-52's (June 30), Anita Baker (July 13), Willie Nelson (July 14), Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon and Fastball (July 20), Josh Groban (August 10), Buddy Guy and George Thorogood & The Destroyers (August 17), Tony Bennett (August 22), Lyle Lovett (August 23) Alabama (August 30).
For a complete list of performers and full concert details, log onto www.ravinia.org.