If you're in Chi-town and seek a taste of the free, major concerts being served this year at the 2007 Taste of Chicago, hold onto your food tickets and dig into these Grant Park music goodies coming to the Petrillo Music Shell. From The Black Crowes and Lyfe Jennings to the cast of Wicked and country classics by Kenny Rogers, here's a sample of the entertainment on the Taste of Chicago's hot menu:
Saturday, June 30 at 3:00 p.m.
• Country music legend Kenny Rogers has been at it for over 50 years, even giving rock, pop and soul music fans a thrill with his raspy voice. But did you know this about Kenny Rogers? His music is extremely popular in Africa -- especially in Kenya. Check out this NPR audio file about the African hip-hop crowd who make Rogers' classic songs such as "The Gambler" among the most requested songs on African radio.
• Check the website for Kenny Rogers if you're interested in his latest news.
Sunday, July 1, at 3:30 p.m.
SARA EVANS and CRAIG MORGAN
• Some of us only became aware of country music's Sara Evans through her stint on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." A show which she quit after filing for divorce. However, fans of her music genre have known this gorgeous, People magazine annointed singer a long while. Sara Evans' hit songs "No Place That Far" and "Born to Fly" have taken enabled her to soar to the top of the Billboard Country Music charts.
• Visit the website for Sara Evans for additional information.
Monday, July 2 at 6:00 p.m.
BROADWAY IN CHICAGO
• Casts of the acclaimed musicals Wicked and The Color Purple promise to sing and dance away our extra pounds gained while enjoying the Taste of Chicago. Festival goers this day also will enjoy the amazing Chicago Children's Choir.
• Broadway in Chicago provides information about various hit musicals and plays currently on Chi-town's playbill, if you'd like to quench your thirst for New York-style culture.
Tuesday, July 3 at 8:00 p.m.
GRANT PARK ORCHESTRA & MACY'S FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR
• Classical music lovers can enjoy the Grant Park Orchestra at the Taste this year, right before the huge fireworks display. By the way, GPO performs for free at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park all summer long. They'll even be joined by the hit indie rock band, The Decemberists on July 18th, as a highlight of the Metro club's big anniversary celebration.
• The Grant Park Orchestra website provides GPO's full schedule of performances at Pritzker Pavilion.
Wednesday, July 4 at 3:00 p.m.
JOHN MAYER and ROBERT RANDOLPH & THE FAMILY BAND
• Pop princess Jessica Simpson seems to love John Mayer, and Chicagoans do, too. Which is why so many of us will hit Grant Park to catch this 2007 Grammy Award-winner. But while we're "Waiting on the World to Change," get a load of Mayer's opening act: Robert Randolph & The Family Band. This exciting band, considered a power combo of soul, funk, rock and hip-hop, is a real crowd-pleaser.
• Check both websites for more groovin' news: John Mayer and Robert Randolph & The Family Band.
Thursday, July 5 at 5:30 p.m.
LYFE JENNINGS and MUSIQ SOULCHILD
• Multi-platinum selling R&B artist Lyfe Jennings adopted his moniker earnestly. He took the name on for tough lessons learned from serving 10 years of jail time on an arson conviction. But a month after his release, Lyfe appeared on the "Showtime At the Apollo" and won the hearts of America's toughest audience. Neo Soul music lovers, no doubt, will turn out en masse to hear Lyfe croon his popular tune -- "S.E.X." -- and other hits at the Taste this year.
• Lyfe Jennings' MySpace page is not to be missed, soul music lovers.
Friday, July 6 at 5:30 p.m.
THE BLACK CROWES
• Stand back, Chi-town: The Black Crowes are about to give it to us, hard rock-style. With a penchant toward the sweet, classic metal stylings of the mighty Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes' are about to bring sexy back to the Petrillo Music Shell. This one you won't want to miss, particularly since it's FREE, courtesy the City of Chicago.
• Check out The Black Crowes official website for more of their nitty-gritty dirt.
Saturday, July 7 at 5:00 p.m.
CHEAP TRICK, SOUL ASYLUM and CRACKER
• Heavily influenced by British rock, Cheap Trick can be heard regularly on television. They have bragging rights to providing the theme music for "That '70s Song" and "Sons and Daughters." Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Cheap Trick's art from their album Rockford serves this as the official graphic for their hometowns' vehicle registration stickers. That's almost enough to make some fans of this punk rock and Beatles-sounding band migrate.
• Check out Cheap Trick at their official website for other news.
Sunday, July 8 at 3:00 p.m.
LOS LONELY BOYS
• Originally from the small Texas town of San Angelo, this band of three Tejano brothers -- Henry, Jojo, and Ringo Garza - have been hailed as the new Los Lobos. Except these guys are carving their own place in Tex-Mex history under the name of Los Lonely Boys. Mentored by Willie Nelson, these 2005 Grammy Award winners are impressively considered a blend of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Santana. Los Lonely Boys is yet another free concert in Grant Park not to be missed.
• Los Lonely Boys official website provides more info on these talented brothers.
These are but a few of the free concerts on the 2007 Taste of Chicago lineup. With about six additional stages featuring popular local acts ranging from Muntu Dance to Reginald T. McCants, you'll definitely want to check the City of Chicago's Taste of Chicago website for more mouth-watering performances.
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