Frank Turner at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago, IL

The Chicago crowd were delightfully treated to not one, but two full sets from Frank Turner at the Athenaeum Theatre. 

The Chicago crowd certainly got their money’s worth when Frank Turner performed show number 2403. This tour is very different from what we have come to know and expect from him. The first change was that he performed two separate sets, and the second was that he remained seated for an acoustic, stripped back show.

The first was a solo set which consisted of songs from his latest release, No Man’s Land. Turner played the majority of the songs on this album, which was released in August. In between each of the songs, he would set the scene, explaining the thought processes and stories behind each of them. These songs were based on various women throughout history who Turner feels have an important story to share or be recognized for. As you would expect if you’ve ever seen him live, the anecdotes were filled to the brim with Turner’s humor.

After a brief break as the stage was rearranged, Turner returned for his second set. This time, he was accompanied by The Sleeping Souls. As mentioned earlier, throughout both sets, Turner remained seated which is a stark difference from his regular performances which usually see him bouncing all around the stage with an almost child-like energy. This show couldn’t have been more different in that respect. This didn’t take away from the show in any way, and in fact, enables the poignant lyrics to be at the forefront, allowing you to take them in. 

Throughout the 28-song show, Turner sang with such conviction, passion, and emotion behind every single word. It was a pleasure to be at a concert where people sat in silence to absorb and appreciate the performance, rather than taking it as an opportunity to catch up with what’s been happening with their friends. There was a great deal of respect for the singer-songwriter, with the only vocalization coming from the audience being the copious cheers of encouragement for the performance. The support and raucous cheering he received during his guitar solo in “The Death of Dora Hand” (although it was requested beforehand) truly highlighted the admiration the crowd holds for Turner. Mind you, the solo did score a 9 so it was totally warranted cheering. He may have given himself that score, but we have to say, we agree with the ruling. 

Whilst this show was a vast change from the usually energetic show that we would expect from Turner, the songs were brought to life with the scene-setting in between, which added a whole new dimension to the performance and experience. It was a fun night and just what you needed to take your mind completely off the workweek. We can all now celebrate together that Sister Rosetta Tharpe is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

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About Kirstine Walton 386 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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