Forced To Choose: Willie Nelson & Family At Ravinia Vs. Dwight Yoakam At Joe's Live!

Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam waiting patiently for this writer to decide.
Living in a city as musically vibrant as Chicago, it is only a matter of time before you find yourself forced to choose between two great concerts taking place on the same night. Since most of the shows I attend are of the smaller club variety that don't require advance ticket purchase, wouldn't you just know that when I do plop down money on tickets it's for the same night as the last set of tickets UI purchased. What are the odds?

So here I am forced to choose between tonight's Willie Nelson & Family concert at Ravinia and Dwight Yoakam honky tonk set at "Joe's Live!" in Rosemont.



Now, Willie is a national treasure and I'm a horrible human being to even consider skipping a chance to see the Master and his family band run through one of country music's deepest and most beloved songbooks, albeit in record time and with little regard for the original melodies.

On the other hand, thirty years after the release of Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc., Dwight is still capable of bringing his A-game. He may not boast the same hefty songbook as Willie, but he's no slouch. Plus, his version of "Suspicious Minds" was at least as inventive as Fine Young Cannibals' version.



As a recording artist, he's worthy of my respect for skillfully playing both sides of the fence, between the nuanced pop of the Beck Hansen-produced 3 Pears to the all-out barrelhouse rocker of  2015's Second-Hand Heart, co-produced by Chris Lord-Alge.

On one hand, it's Willie Nelson and, if nothing else, I will come home with my love for humanity, family & apple pie restored to some degree. And probably a contact high.

Admittedly, Joe's Live! does have a certain Dave & Busters-y vibe about it that can rub some purists the wrong way, but it's still pretty intimate and acoustically optimized for live performance.

Which show would you pick?

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