Chicago's 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert: Jerry "the Iceman" Butler, Impressions, Chi-Lites, Otis Clay, Emotions, and others | Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Chicago's 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert: Jerry "the Iceman" Butler, Impressions, Chi-Lites, Otis Clay, Emotions, and others All Ages Free Recommended Soundboard

When: Mon., Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m. 2011

This inelegantly named event might look like a glorified oldies show—a downtown version of the kind of nostalgic soul-music hit parade that often appears on the marquees of out-of-the-way suburban venues. But the lineup and the Soul Train connection make it something special. Longtime Soul Train host Don Cornelius is returning from LA to his native Chicago (where he began the show in 1970, a year before taking it national) to be honored, and six of the city's most important soul artists—Jerry "the Iceman" Butler, the Impressions, the Chi-Lites, Otis Clay, the Emotions, and Gene Chandler—will take turns singing their hits, variety-show style, backed by a 25-piece orchestra packed with veterans like Gene Barge, Big Willie Woods, and Willie Henderson (a recent Secret History of Chicago Music subject) and conducted by former Brunswick Records house arranger Tom Tom Washington. Some of the singers have lost their youthful range and power (Clay is only expected to deliver one tune), and the vocal groups won't feature all their original members—several have died, not merely quit—but all the same, I can't see how this extravaganza won't be a good time. The show will be emceed by legendary soul DJ Herb Kent and WBEZ's Richard Steele, and Kent will spin dusties at a dance party on the promenade near the Bean from 4 to 5:30 PM. Monday is also the last day of the Soul Train photo exhibit at Expo 72 gallery (72 E. Randolph); it closes at 4 PM. (On Fri 9/2 from 6 to 8 PM, all-ages cable-access dance party Chic-a-Go-Go will tape an episode in the gallery.) And on Sun 9/4 at 2 PM, the Gene Siskel Film Center screens Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America; Steele, Cornelius, and current Soul Train Holdings CEO Kenard Gibbs will be present for a Q&A session after the movie. —Peter Margasak

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