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LIVE REVIEW: Squeeze & B52s live in Chicago - Words/Illustrations by VonEcker - Photos by Chelsea Schneider

If someone presents you with an opportunity to see a band you used to jam out to when you were young, but never had a chance to see, what do you do? We’re talking super young here, like sliding across your fathers newly tiled floor in your makeshift superman cape young. Or running away from that new girl on the play ground because Timmy O’Toole told you she had cooties young. So when this kind of once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, do you just let it slip by?

I think not my Motorcity friend.

So when the powers at MCB asked me if I would love to see Squeeze and The B-52’s at Chicago’s Charter One Pavilion and travel back to the better days of my youth, how could I say no.

For all you youngsters out there who have no idea who either band is I’ll give you a quick crash course. The B52s were basically the original party rockers. Think LMFAO before youtube, MTV, or even cable for that matter. The group was known for crazy hits in the 70‘s, 80’s and 90’s such as “Roam”, “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster”. The B52s are also still pretty huge on the karaoke scene, I have never been to a night of karaoke where one drunk girl hasn’t gotten up and sang “Love Shack.” It’s as guaranteed as last call, taxes, and death.

At first I had no idea who Squeeze was, so I had to do some research to see what I could dig up. Squeeze came up in the 70’s with hits like “Cool for Cats”, “Tempted”, and “Black Coffee in Bed”. The band shared more fame in the UK, but they did score some hits in the U.S with “Hourglass” and “853-5937”. It wasn’t until I came across “Tempted” that I began to remember who they were. Overall I can’t lie, I wasn’t totally impressed with them. Regardless I had to give both bands a chance and see how they rock
it today.

I cannot deny, this assignment left me a little worried. What the hell was I about to get myself into? What madness would I soon encounter at the shores of Lake Michigan on a blistering 102 degree day in Chicago? I envisioned hordes of sticky, sweaty, dehydrated 40 somethings trying to recapture missed connections and memories of a simpler time. I was also kind of worried that my idea of what I was about to see would totally be shattered by the reality of old age setting in on my heros of yesteryear. Lets face it, bands out of there decade of stardom can oftentimes fall flat and become just a mere shadow of their greatness.

Even without the memorable bee-hive hairdo’s and young looking skin, the B52’s rocked their hearts out to all the old hits and really got the audience dancing their asses off in the hot, sticky, humid summer air. Everyone came to party and we were all taken back to that special place in our youth. Very few people were seated and most danced in the aisles singing along to their favorite B52s track. Their encore which consisted of “Roam” and “Rock Lobster”, left us with that good feeling of the 60’s.
I was wondering if Squeeze was going to top the almighty B52s? They actually surprised me! They sounded great live, and had a huge following of loyal fans. It made me feel bad for ever doubting them. The B52s we’re great to see for the nostalgia factor, but Squeeze really hit that stage with a great live performance, and I see a great possibility for their comeback introducing such new songs as "Top Of The Form", "Honey Trap" and of course “Tempted”. With their already established foundation of loyal fans, and todays music acts inspired by the synth pop music of the 80’s, Squeeze has a chance for a comeback. 

This assignment taught me a few things.1) Never sell an unknown band short . 2) Real rock and rollers never stop rockin’. 3) Will anyone know or care about seeing bands of today like LMFAO in 35 years? Of course... because there’s nothing better than catching up with your favorite bands from the past. So get your ass out there and see your old heros on tour before they fade away, because once they’re gone, they’re gone baby. And no cover band ever stands up to the original.

See more pictures from the night here 

Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Von Ecker has been painting and showcasing his work for the last 10 years.  The CCS Alumni now works and resides in Chicago and on occasion attends events to report, review and create custom artwork for MCB