submitted by Tim J., IL
I think Sonny Landreth has a thing for Fitzgerald's. This small club, about the size of a 7-11 convenience store, in Berwyn, IL was packed this Saturday night. Sonny has played this club many times in the past and was even rumored to have recorded there for a live album a few years back. If you get there before the backup band goes on you can save your spot right in front of the stage. Yes, close enough for Sonny's roadie to snatch your beer off the stage before the show starts. You can even see the band arrive, walking up the steps to the backstage room, as the entrance is 10 feet stage right. Artists like Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Peter Wolf and Joe Ely have played the club.
Tonight all chairs and tables were removed for the sold-out crowd. Advance tickets were needed as many were put in a waiting area or turned away. Mr. Fitzgerald was often seen eyeing the crowd as he seemed to take pride in another musical "find" for the famous club just outside Chicago's city limits. Actually, Sonny was found many years ago by the club and he continues to visit annually, seemingly very appreciative. In addition to last summer's visit he jammed with Marcia Ball during Fitzgerald's American Music Festival. Tonight Sonny seemed to play more instrumentals then usual, perhaps due to a cold that he had apologized for on local radio days before. I found no problem with his voice at all. I truly think Sonny's playing is quite unique, he is an artist on stage as he cajoles his guitar into incredible sounds. This "bar" was a rockin' music venue tonight with the crowd very much into it. I can't remember the setlist, or even anything close to one as I was intent on taking photos. Sonny mentioned how the band tested these new songs on us during past visits. At one point, a large heart-shaped gift box was sent onstage, Sonny was very thankful and placed it ampside; notes were also passed to Dave Ranson. The backup band's lead singer who stated he'd never seen Sonny live was now stage right with a look of a “deer in headlights”. The crowd around me was definitely full of fans, some wearing home made shirts relating to Sonny’s CDs. Two sets of encores were played and then Sonny declared that had to be it. I would say he gave it his all and was very thankful to the audience. I felt again like I had just seen the likes of a Jimi Hendrix. I'm amazed that we can still see Sonny at a place like this. About 10 minutes after the show the band could be approached easily as they casually mingled amongst everyone.