Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats with Special Guest Mavis Staples at the Chicago Theatre


My mind is still in shock from the awesomeness of that evening. It started with a dinner date, a couple of drinks, and a brisk walk over to the Chicago Theatre. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30 and I thought we would be able to beat the line if we got there just as the show started. I was wrong. There was a line half-way down the block. After standing in line for about 10 minutes, a security woman says “OH MY GOD. Please Use All Available Doors!” I’m thinking to myself, “Is it human nature to form a line and wait? It was so damn cold, but at least the people in line were nice?”

We are in. Skip the bar lines as you go in, those lines are always the longest. Find a bar closer to your seating area. Odds are there is a bathroom nearby too. We had floor seats. Left side. Row BB. (I was expecting far left) We were right down the middle. 2 rows behind the orchestra pit. I couldn’t believe it. Best seats I have ever had at the Chicago Theatre – hands down!

Mavis Staples lit up the stage in her sparkly red dress, and looked like she was having a good ole time in the spotlight! She was funny, told some great stories, and most of all had the audience engaged! “I’ll Take You There,” we all sang back to Mavis. Earlier this week Mavis was awarded with Kennedy Center Honors and she told us about how she had gone to the White House with 8 really tall, suited men. Pointing at all of the men, First Lady Michelle said, “Mavis, I see how your roll!” And with the flick of her wrist she says, “Yeah Girl! I still got it!” I loved Mavis’ stage banter, and comments about her cousins being in the audience. She said you would hear them screaming in the audience, in reference to her Chicago family. ❤

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats took the stage after a short, but appropriately timed intermission. They opened with a twist of I’ve been Failing, followed by I Need Never Get Old. I loved the synchronized dance moves between the trumpet and sax player. They all took turns rocking out on the tambourine. After a few songs, Mavis joined the stage again for a rendition of “The Weight,” and they had the whole crowd singing along Take a load off Fanny, Take a load for free…  it was great!

Nathan had a short solo set where he covered Leonard Cohen. He messed up a few measures in, but made it quite comical. After a couple of songs he shouted “Nightsweats – Assemble!” The rest of the band joined him on stage, and had a nice little jam session while Nathan took a quick break.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats are an amazing band to see live. Better than the album. I love that they play up and get creative with their music so it doesn’t sound exactly like it does on their record. Their energy and vibe are contagious had the entire audience dancing.

Last note: Chicago Theatre security team was cracking down on people taking video/photos (even if you held your camera/phone up too long, it appeared as if you were taking video). It was kind of a buzzkill. I wasn’t causing trouble, but others around me couldn’t seem to grasp the “No Video” policy they announced several times throughout the show.

I may have gotten around their “No Video” policy by lowering the brightness on my phone screen, and not using any flash. Here’s a few snaps from the show!