Stereophonics make a brief trip Stateside, and make a stop in Chicago for one of only two US shows.
The Union Jacks were draped over the front barrier ready for the boys from Wales to take to the stage. As you would expect, a large portion of the crowd was made up of British ex-pats. However, what was even more impressive is that there were some people who flew all the way from the UK, just to see this show in Chicago. Judging by the crowds’ reaction to the show, their trip was worthwhile.
For two and a half hours, Stereophonics performed a 30-song set, impressive by anyone’s standards, which was lapped up by the enthusiastic crowd. Their songs are often contagious and frequently incite a full-audience singalong, and this show was no exception. The fans were in fine voice for the likes of “A Thousand Trees” and “Have A Nice Day.”
This tour is in support of their tenth album, Scream Above The Sound, which was released in October of last year. However, they only performed “Caught By The Wind” and “Geronimo” from the recent record, and instead favored a set which spanned their career, with a lot of emphasis on their debut release, Word Gets Around. Whilst this album might be 21 years old this year, it certainly hasn’t aged, and the songs have clearly stood the test of time.
This year has been a busy year for the Welsh boys, as they’ve performed at arenas throughout the UK as well as headlining festivals. Getting to see them in a venue of this size would be unimaginable nowadays to anyone in their homeland, so it was a true treat for anyone who got to experience the intimate show. It’s crazy to think that this one wasn’t sold out.
Whilst the lineup of the band may have changed over the years, with singer/guitarist Kelly Jones and bassist Richard Jones the only remaining original band members, the band has retained its original vibe and sound. Kelly’s unique gravelly tones, always one of the stand out features of the band’s music, help make any song of theirs instantly recognizable. Mind you, it’s surprising he could be heard over the volume of the fans as they sang along whole-heartedly to their favorite songs.
The wait for them to return to Chicago was worth it when the fans got to experience a night like this. The evocative “The Local Boy In The Photograph” and rowdy “The Bartender And The Thief” rounded out the first part of the set on a high, before ending the night with a six-song encore, including the ever-popular “Dakota.”
Since there were only two North American shows this time around, hopefully it won’t be too long before they are back again. However, a night like this will stay with the fans for a while, and should help keep them ticking over until the band return.