Labor Day has passed, which is the unofficial end of summer. When I was a kid and arrived in the classroom the day after Labor Day, that meant summer was over.
Of course, we know that is not the case. Autumn actually arrives on Thursday, Sept. 22. Summer will be hanging around for another week and some of those days will be warm. The main difference this time of year is that the nights are cooler and the days are not as long.
For instance, I just enjoyed a weekend of music and I was not cooped up in a theater. My wife and I enjoyed the outdoors beginning on Friday for the last free concert in Burr Ridge. This particular concert was held because of a rainout during the summer. This allowed the band Reckless an opportunity to perform and close out the outdoor concert season.
The concerts are fun and you can bring your own food and refreshments. Food can also be purchased from a local restaurant that has a stand near the stage. Since these concerts are held on Friday nights, they are well attended. Since I have gone there on a few occasions, you begin to see some of the same people anchoring down in a specific location.
Many of these people arrive in large groups with blankets, refreshments, fruit plates and deep dish pizza. By the end of the concert, these individuals are feeling pretty good. It may have something to do with those refreshments. Reckless did not disappoint, playing a variety of music ranging from Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pat Benator, Bruno Mars to Fall Out Boy.
The band played nonstop for the scheduled hour and a half and went over the limit with the expected encore. They closed out with a pretty solid rendition of “Hey Jude” that had the crowd up swaying their hands back and forth.
The majority of adults and kids who attend these concerts are not even from Burr Ridge. They are mostly from Chicago, Oak Lawn, Orland Park and Tinley Park. But that figures. Residents from the city and the southwest suburbs like to have a good time.
And that leads us to the Fall on the Green festival in Oak Lawn, which was held this past weekend adjacent to the Oak Lawn Library and Oak Lawn Municipal Center. I took some photos for our paper there on Saturday afternoon. A large crowd was already beginning to gather at the Village Green and the nearby restaurants. A beer tent was also set up and included musical entertainment.
After getting a series of photos of kids playing on a variety of rides, I headed back home to prepare to come back that evening. My wife and I arrived later in the afternoon and had a meal from one of the large group of vendors under one of the tents.
After we ate, we began to look for a seat in front of the main stage in preparation to see American English, the popular Beatles tribute band that does the fest circuit during the summer. However, apparently we got there too late. The majority of the seats were already taken.
I reminded my wife that we have to leave a little earlier next year. In any event, we ventured off to the right of the stage. I have ended up in the same area near the beer tent in the past and can still hear the band well. We could see half the stage but that did not matter. I have seen American English several times.
As is always the case, we see people we know. It is good to see them because we don’t always come in contact as in the past. They are linked to another time when their kids went to school with our kids. Sometimes I run into parents whose sons played baseball with my son. That’s what is great about these local festivals. You bump into neighbors and people you have had contact with through the years.
If you have seen American English, the performance is broken up into three parts: the early Liverpool years and the songs they played when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show; the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” phase where the band members are dressed in the costumes featured on the iconic album; and the end where their hair rests on their shoulders as they played songs from “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be.”
My wife and I marveled at the size of the crowd that filled the area near the stage at 95th and Cook Avenue and extended as far back as the Village Green. It is always interesting to see what songs American English will play from the vast Beatles catalogue.
Everyone was having a great time and I even managed to stroll up near the stage for the final numbers. And of course, they came back for an encore much to the delight of the crowd that ranged from the middle-aged to teens.
And what was the encore? Why “Hey Jude,” of course.
Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.