Summerfest Daily Highlights: Wednesday, June 29
Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates and Buddy Guy
Marcus Amphitheater, 8:30 p.m.
Peter Gabriel's musical journey began with the progressive rock band Genesis. Unlike many of his peers, he understood progressive as an ongoing concept, not a self-satisfied genre. After pushing theatricality to extremes of elaborate staging, Gabriel left Genesis to become a solo artist, human-rights activist, world-music advocate and digital entrepreneur. Instead of playing celebrity games, he chose to work more quietly, supporting Amnesty International and Britain's Labour Party and sitting down with Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and other elder statesmen to discuss world conflicts. Mikhail Gorbachev presented him the Man of Peace Award at the 2006 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Not many one-time prog musicians can boast a similar résumé.
Gabriel's solo career has taken resolutely thorny directions: He refused to title his first several albums and pioneered the use of digital recording along with deconstructed sampled sounds in a rock context. Lyrically, he has never shied away from unusual topics; in the '80s, his gift for melody coupled with provocation resulted in hits such as “Shock the Monkey,” “Games Without Frontiers” and “Sledgehammer.” In 2010 Gabriel released Scratch My Back, an album of orchestral arrangements of songs by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Neil Young and other artists. (David Luhrssen)
Hall & Oates
M&I Classic Rock Stage, 10 p.m.
The 21st century has seen a resurgence of interest in the talented duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates: In 2003, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard penned a gushing tribute to the pair on the hipper-than-thou website Pitchfork.com; in 2008, the duo collaborated with electro-funk outfit Chromeo; and in 2010 they appeared on the season finale of “American Idol,” performing their smash hit “You Make My Dreams,” a song that still sounds fresh 30 years after it was first recorded.
It is the staying power of songs such as “You Make My Dreams” that continues to make Hall & Oates relevant to fans all over the world. Listen to “Rich Girl,” “Private Eyes,” “Kiss on My List,” “I Can't Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater” and “Out of Touch”—the pair's six No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100—and then try to deny the fact that the two were masters at writing winning pop songs. Such mega-hits were recently collected onto 2009's Do What You Want, Be What You Are: The Music of Daryl Hall and John Oates, a four-disc collection that comprehensively documents the duo's vital history. (Michael Carriere)
Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, 10 p.m.
By the time Buddy Guy came north to Chicago in the 1950s,
the city's electric blues sound had already coalesced around Chess Records and its recording artists Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. In a fraught relationship with Chess, Guy became a session player behind Waters and Wolf as well as Little Walter and Koko Taylor. By the mid-'60s he was already pushing the electric guitar into new places, but Chess refused to release his more venturesome recordings. During those years Eric Clapton saw Guy touring the United Kingdom with a blues-rock power trio and was inspired to found Cream. Guy later shared the stage with Jimi Hendrix and left a profound mark on the younger guitarist's music and showmanship.
In recent decades Guy has been seen as both the standard-bearer for Chicago blues and the heir to Hendrix (even though he influenced Hendrix rather than the other way around) on the strength of dynamic performances that darted across musical divisions. While grounded in the blues, he reached for inspiration from soul, rock and free jazz. Guy also helped to keep blues alive as the owner of a landmark Chicago blues club, Legends. (David Luhrssen)