Monthly Archives: February 2023

Incredible! Bush at The Salt Shed (February 25, 2023)

“Machinehead” from their debut album, Sixteen Stone, is the second song of the night. The iconic guitar riff on this song gets the entire audience moving. “Breathe in, breathe out” sings Gavin Rossdale. It’s immediately clear this is going to be an incredible performance.

Soon after is “The Chemicals Between Us” from 1999’s The Science of Things. The excellent guitar sound and bass lines still sound magnificent and fresh today, 24 years later.

During “Flowers On A Grave” from 2020’s The Kingdom, Gavin wanders throughout the audience. He goes up and down all the aisles of the grandstands at the back of the venue and then comes up through the general admission pit back up to the stage.

On “Everything Zen”, he sings “Should I fly to Los Angeles? Find my asshole brother”. The crowd fully enjoys singing these lyrics.

Later on is “Heavy Is The Ocean”. It is one of the best songs from the latest album, 2022’s The Art of Survival. It has a groove that sounds great live.

During the encore, Gavin plays “Glycerine” solo. This is their most popular song, which has over 178 million streams on Spotify. “If I treated you bad, you’d bruise my face / Couldn’t love you more, you’ve got a beautiful taste”. It’s a fantastic song about a troublesome relationship.

For the finale, they play “Comedown”. “’Cause I don’t want to come back down from this cloud. It’s taken me all this time to find out what I need.” Attending this concert was like being on a cloud that you don’t want to come down from. While other bands from the 90s perform half-heartedly, Bush gives it 100% and they are just as good as ever.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $99 (General Admission)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney


A High Energy Party! Zolita at Subterranean (February 23, 2023)

Zolita opens with “I F*cking Love You” and the high energy party gets started. It’s a great dance pop song that gets everyone moving.

A trilogy of music videos that includes “Somebody I F*cked Once”, “Single in September”, and “I F*cking Love you”

Midway through the set, she invites an audience member on stage named Ashley and she sings “Ashley” to her. With the acoustic guitar, it sounds a lot like a Plain White Ts ballad. It’s another song that shows her great range.

Late in the show she plays, “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. The entire crowd eats it up and sings along at full volume. “’Cause the next time that he cheats, Oh, you know it won’t be on me.”

For the encore, she sings her biggest hit, “Somebody I F*cked Once”, which has over 19 million streams on Spotify.  “You might be someone I could love, Or you’re just somebody I fucked once”. It’s a perfect punk pop anthem and an excellent closer for the night.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $25

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Oscars Drama: Boulevard of Bold Dreams at Timeline Theatre (Through March 19, 2023)

Hattie McDaniel was the first African American women to be nominated for an Oscar. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Gone With the Wind in 1940. In the cocktail lounge at the Ambassador Hotel in Hollywood, California, she is deciding whether or not to attend the award show. They won’t let her sit with her cast and have set up a table in the very back for her. The bartender is trying his best to get her to attend. He dreams of directing the movie he wrote. The maid wishes to be a professional singer, but has become skeptical that this is even possible.

A highlight of the play are a few songs by the cast. They sing acapella and with the piano. The original songs are “Moonlight” and “Cali Girl”. The lyrics are written by the playwright, LaDarrion Williams, and the music is by Malkia Stampley.

Gabrielle Lott-Rogers is graceful and charming as Hattie McDaniel, offering to help out the others with their dreams while being hesitant to attend the award show. Charles Andrew Gardner is excellent as the bartender displaying great hope and ambition. Mildred Marie Langford is great as the maid, showing cynicism for all dreams.

Cost of a ticket: $47

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Boulevard of Bold Dreams through March 19th!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious! The Den’s Best at The Den Theatre (Open Run)

Lucia Whalen is the host for the evening. She reveals that she is queer and recently dated some women. However, it was too much work, so she is back to dating men! She says she is dating a vegan man, aka, the lesbian of men. She jokes that he goes down on her for protein!

Chris Bader is up next. He talks about how he was born in the US to Iranian parents. His given first name is Baubak, but after kids started calling him ball sack, his mother changed his name to Chris. Since he was born in the US, he feels like he is white. He also reveals that he just turned 40 and now he is the creepy old guy at the club, which he never wanted to be.

Erica Nicole Clark is a teacher in Northbrook, IL. She is the only black teacher and all her students are white. She is currently teaching kindergarten and she likes to do Fucked Up Mondays. She tells them the craziest story from the news, tuned down a bit. Then, she asks for solutions to the problems. One of the kids suggests that they put all the racists on a place to Antarctica without coats. When Erica says they probably couldn’t get them on the plane, another students says to just redirect a plane headed to Florida, because they definitely won’t have jackets!

Siobhan Townsend is the closer for the night. She starts by singing “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears. Next, she sings “Stupid” by Lizzy McAlpine. 

She closes with a couple of songs from musicals, “A Summer in Ohio” from the musical The Last Five Years and “Fly into the Future” from the musical Vanities.

She has a great voice and a charming stage presence. The only thing missing is an introduction to the songs.

Cost of a ticket: $25

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for The Den’s Best!

Quinn Delaney

Historical and Funny! Toni Stone at the Goodman Theatre (Through February 26, 2023)

Toni Stone is based on the book, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League by Martha Ackmann. It was published by Chicago Review Press in 2010. In June of 2019, it opened off Broadway. And now, in February of 2023, it opens at the Goodman Theatre.

In the 1950s, Toni Stone becomes the first woman to play professional baseball. She plays for the Indianapolis Clowns. The coach pushes for the pitchers to go easy on her, against her wishes. She is also resistant to getting married, as her only love for the longest time has been baseball. The team is mostly accepting of her, except for one player. Toni’s best friend is Millie, an owner of a brothel, who is full of life’s wisdom.

The play is mostly a joyful historical look in the life of Toni Stone during her baseball career. She does encounter racism and sexism, but they don’t dominate the story. There is also plenty of humor mixed in.

Tracey N. Bonner is impressive as Toni Stone. She is front and center talking for the majority of the 2.5 hour play. Also, she capture’s Toni’s enthusiasm for the game expertly. Jon Hudson Odom (Ms. Blakk for President)  is superb as the wise Millie. She turns her lifetime of experience into great advice. Kai A. Ealy is hilarious as the goofy King Tut. Victor Musoni (How We Got On, The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington) is charming and funny as Jimmy. The rest of the cast are also excellent in their supporting roles.

Cost of a ticket: $65 (Front Orchestra)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Toni Stone through February 26th!

Quinn Delaney

Impressive! Into the Woods at Paramount Theatre (Through March 19, 2023)

Into the Woods first opened on Broadway in 1987. It won Best Score and Best Book at the Tony’s. A film version was released in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Emily Blunt, James Corden, and Johnny Depp. And now, in February of 2023, it opens at the Paramount Theatre. It will also appear at The Nederlander Theatre from April 25th to May 7th, 2023

Everyone knows the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. But what happens after the original stories end? Into the Woods explores just this and discovers that ever after isn’t always happy.

This production is quite massive. The set is incredibly impressive rising 3 stories tall complete with a forest and two towers. Everyone is great in the 24 person cast. There is also an excellent full band playing the music written by Stephen Sondheim.

(From left) Adam Fane as Milky White, Will Koski as Jack, Stephen Schellhardt as the Baker and Sarah Bockel as the Baker’s Wife. Photos by: Liz Lauren

There are some really great one liners in this play such as “I was raised to be charming, not sincere” and “My father’s house was a nightmare; your house was a dream. Now I want something in between.” Pay close attention to catch them all.

Sarah Bockel (center, left) plays the Baker’s Wife and Stephen Schellhardt is the Baker. Photos by: Liz Lauren

Cost of a ticket: $83 (Front Orchestra) to ($44) Balcony 

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Into the Woods through March 19!

Quinn Delaney

A Sublime Party! Badfish with Kash’d Out and The Quasi Kings at House of Blues Chicago (February 9, 2023)

A Badfish show is a party celebrating the music of Sublime. They truly capture the vibe and the sound of the band. The lead singer sounds just like Bradley Nowell.

Early in the set, the lead singer from Kash’d Out, Greg Shields, joins them on stage to sing “Badfish”.  “Ain’t got no quarrels with God / Ain’t got no time to grow old / Lord knows I’m weak / Won’t somebody get me off of this reef?” It’s such a great song and Shields nails it. Read our review of Kash’d Out from last year here.

Midway into the set, they play Sublime’s biggest hit, “Santeria”, which has over 567 millions stream on Spotify. “I don’t practice Santeria, I ain’t got no crystal ball / Well, I had a million dollars but I’d, I’d spend it all”. The audience joyfully sings along to every word.

Later on, the singers from The Quasi Kings, Benny and Zach Coleman, join them on stage to sing an excellent version of “Rivers of Babylon”, which is originally a song by The Melodians.

To end the night, they play “What I Got”. “Got to find a reason why my money’s all gone / I got a Dalmatian and I can still get high / I can play the guitar like a motherfuckin’ riot”. It’s a perfect song to send the crowd out with a big smile on their face.

See the full setlist from Columbus a few nights earlier here.

Cost of a ticket: $28

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

A Grand Production! Porchlight Music Theatre Presents Cabaret at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts (Through March 5, 2023)

Cabaret first opened on Broadway in 1966. It is based on the 1951 play, I Am A Camera, which was adapted from the 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin. It won Tonys for Best Musical and Best Original Score in this original run. In 1972, the film version starring Liza Minnelli was released. A London revival in 1993 was directed by Sam Mendes and starred Alan Cumming. Cumming reprised his role in the 1998 and 2014 Broadway Revivals. And now, in 2023, the Porchlight Music Theatre opens it’s production at the Ruth Page Center.  

In the musical, an American writer moves to Berlin to write a novel. On his first night, he meets a cabaret dancer. She quickly decides to move in with him. Later on, she discovers she is pregnant and they decide to settle down together. Their landlady meets an elderly Jewish man who she falls for. Before long they are engaged. Interspersed throughout the musical are performances at the cabaret by the Emcee and others. But then the Nazi’s begin to take power and everything changes.

Similar to their production of Rent, this production is a bit tamed down sexually and dramatically compared to others. Still, it’s a very grand show with great music and choreography.

Erica Stephan (Clue), is fantastic as the lead cabaret dancer. “Maybe this time, he’ll stay / Maybe this time, for the first time / Love won’t hurry away.” These are such powerful lyrics that are delivered powerfully. Josh Walker is phenomenal as the Emcee, especially during the song “Two ladies”. “Two ladies… / And he’s the only man.” Mary Robin Roth (Shear Madness) and Mark David Kaplan (Clue, Fiddler on the Roof at Lyric) are so sweet as the elderly couple

Cost of a ticket: $73

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Cabaret through March 5th!

Quinn Delaney

Review: Shattered Globe Theatre Presents Radial Gradient at Theater Wit (Through March 11, 2023)

It is 2017, Anjani and Gigi are freshmen roommates participating in Rush week to join a sorority. They are strongly hoping to get into the same one. They first meet Melanie, who is a Recruitment Counselor who is there to help them with the process. She is supposed to keep secret her house affiliation. Flash forward to 2020. Melanie is presenting her dissertation to a group of professors about racism in the Greek System. She has set up a panel with Anjani and Gigi to discuss their experiences with their sororities. Behind her is a two way mirror which allows the professors to watch the panel without them knowing.

Jasmine Sharma has written a play that really digs into the sorority recruitment process. Some parts of it feel a bit unnatural as the characters provide the definitions of the terminology. Other parts do feel realistic as the pressure of the situation builds. The characters feel that in some ways, the house you join will determine who will be your friends for the next four years, and possibly longer.

Simran Deokule is great as Anjani, who is quickly turned off by the system and drops out. Isabelle Muthiah is excellent as Gigi, who sees issues, but decides to join anyways and fix it from the inside. Kianna Rose is solid as Melanie, who is trying to end the racism in the Greek system.

Cost of a ticket: $45

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for Radial Gradient through March 11th!

Quinn Delaney