Joanna Connor at Navy Pier’s Live on the Lake in Chicago, IL

Joanna Connor puts on a show to remember for a packed crowd at the Miller Lite Beer Garden on Chicago’s Navy Pier.

After a couple of stormy days, what better way to enjoy the return of the sunny weather than head down to Navy Pier and enjoy the latest installment of their Live On The Lake! series. To make things even better, tonight it was the turn of Chicago favorite Joanna Connor to take to the stage. 

The name may not be familiar to you but the chances are you’ve seen Joanna perform. A YouTube video, which you can check out here, showing Joanna playing some of the most amazing slide guitar went viral as it was shared worldwide. To the people of Chicago, she is a very familiar sight with regular performances at Kingston Mines and the House Of Blues. They were clearly eager to see her again tonight as the Miller Lite Beer Garden was filled with an expectant crowd.

Throughout the summer months, Navy Pier is a fantastic place to visit as they regularly put on free live music events showcasing local bands and musicians. The caliber of the acts this year have been great, and tonight it was kicked up another level.

Usually, you would expect it to take some time to warm up a crowd and get them interacting with your music, especially for a Wednesday night show. But not tonight. From the very beginning, the dance floor in front of the stage was filled with people of all ages dancing and enjoying the show. Many people were visiting Navy Pier in preparation for the weekly firework display, but once they heard the music blasting out from the end of the pier, they came to take a look and joined in.

The show consisted of two hour-long sets which were crammed with many familiar songs along with some others that the audience may not have known as well but all of which got people moving. 

You often hear people say that a guitarist’s instrument is an extension of their body, and this is definitely applicable to Joanna when you watch her play. Her trusty Gibson is clearly connected to the deepest parts of her psyche as it transmits every emotion she is clearly feeling to the audience. A passionate performance as always from this Blues/Rocker.

Whilst Connor’s guitar skills are clearly in a league of their own, she also has that soulful bluesy voice to round out the sound. The fact that she lists the likes of Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, and Led Zeppelin as her influences is no surprise at all, as you can hear these artists resonate through her music. 

The night was exactly what a summer night in Chicago should be all about, and it doesn’t get much better than this. The sun setting behind the city skyline as boats cruise on by, with a beer in your hand, listening to a fantastic live performance. To top it all off, as Joanna’s show came to an end the fireworks round out the night. 

JOANNA CONNOR
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About Kirstine Walton 148 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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