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- August 23, 1997
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www.duncansheik.com

Duncan Sheik
with Jill Sobule
A Concert Review

March 25, 1997

The Park West

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
When the announcement came that Duncan Sheik was returning to Chicago, Stu Gotz was a happy man, all until he found out what day it was and realized he had already made plans to be out of town. See, Stu is a big Duncan fan, ever since seeing him open for Jewel a while back. At that time his self-titled CD just came out, Stu was impressed by his show, and Duncan had a new fan. Me, I kinda liked his CD, but in all honesty didn't have that much of a desire to see him live. I really don't know why that was, but I made my way to The Park West, found a seat, and you know, seeing Duncan was cool, but a little weird.

Playing to a packed crowd, I really started to appreciate what Stu saw in the guy. Let me tell you first off that you won't be finding any mosh-pit action at a Duncan Sheik show. This had to be one of the most reserved crowds I've seen in a long time, but I guess that kinda goes along with his music. Guitar-driven, very melodic, almost like smooth jazz, but not, I started remembering the music from Duncan's CD as he cruised through his eleven song set. And you know, the CD doesn't do him justice.

What the CD doesn't show that seeing Duncan live does is a personality perfect for captivating a crowd. He's up there going between keyboards and guitar, and all the while he has this look of amazement that people like him, they really like him (and I won't even get into some of the comments I heard the girls around me saying). There he is, looking shy and all, playing his songs with an energy level higher than found on the CD, throwing a little grin and smile at the girl who just brought him a rose, and taking notes from his adoring fans.

And he can play too, and I guess that is what impressed me more. Between the smiles there was Duncan leading his band through guitar jams extending his songs to a refreshingly new level, especially since all you ever seem to hear on the radio is "Barely Breathing," although there is the acoustic version of it propagating through the airwaves. But as much as the crowd enjoyed "Barely Breathing," it almost seemed that everyone had their own favorite song (me personally, it's "In The Absence of Sun" which he played great this night), and maybe that's why Duncan is appealing to more and more people. They bought the CD for the radio hit, but find they like other songs more, tell their friends, and bring them along to the show.

Well, if you like the Duncan Sheik CD, I highly recommend seeing him live because you'll probably find yourself liking the songs a little bit more. He's got a great stage presence that translates into a good time by all, well, all except the heavy metal loving boyfriend of this dudette next to me. He kept bustin' on Duncan while she was trying to sing along. Too bad for her that she has him, I recommend a change for her, maybe someone like me, a new Duncan Sheik fan.

Well Duncan did put on a great show, and I loved his cover of the Radiohead song "Fake Plastic Trees." It's TWO THUMBS UP for the Duncan-man.

Opening up for Duncan was Jill Sobule who most of you might remember from the "I Kissed a Girl" song. Coming out sportin' a way short skirt and a nice tie, her and her keyboard player gave forty minutes of music that had the crowd laughing and singing to songs they didn't even know. Her songs are kinda quirky, but between the laughs there seemed to be a message too. The crowd loved her, and had I done my homework beforehand I could probably have given you more of a review, but I'll tell you a couple of things. One, I'll be looking forward to seeing her on her next pass through the area, and it takes a lot for someone to wrap an audience around their finger like Jill did. The crowd loved her, I laughed, and I give Jill Sobule Two Thumbs Up for doing a great job.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!

 

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