Ribfest 2006 in Naperville

We hit Ribfest again this year in Naperville. This year, REO Speedwagon was the headlining band. Consequently, all the 80’s heads (us included) came to see the show and the festival wound up selling out for the third time since its inception.

There were three bands in total that played yesterday while we were there. The first band was called The Hacks. I enjoyed their set (it was a long one). The crowd was minimal at this point in the afternoon and there was plenty of space to walk around, or sit back and enjoy the music.

The second band was a band called Hello Dave. I really enjoyed these guys. They play country / blues / rock and mixed cover tunes with originals. I don’t think I heard one song I didn’t enjoy. I definitely want to look these guys up the next place they are playing and check them out again. During this set is when the crowd really started building up. Hello Dave played until around 7:00 or so.

Once Hello Dave finished is when the crowd really started building. It was literally impossible to get through the crowd at points to get back to your seat if you, say, had to make a bathroom run. People were packed so tight that there were rather large groups just looking for one little piece of free showing grass to set their blanket down and squeeze in for the show.

REO was scheduled to start at 8:00, but the band didn’t hit the stage until around 8:20p. It was really amazing to watch this sold out crowd and how into this band they are. Attending a show like this and watching the crowd that assembles when they play really shows what a huge impact this band had on the music scene in the 80’s. What surprised me was that even the younger kids knew the words to the songs.

The band also played a couple of songs from their upcoming album (due to be released in December or so). They were pretty good, and I might just pick up the album when it comes out. I thought the band put on a pretty good show.

Aside from hearing the songs that really were a staple on the radio during the 80’s (and there weren’t many REO songs that I didn’t like), the most fascinating thing for me through the whole thing was watching the crowd once the band came on the stage. I felt compelled to take as many pictures of how the crowd grew as I could, just to show what a draw this band still is after 30 years.

I’ve uploaded 88 photos from the event yesterday to the photo album. Some are family shots, many are of the crowd, and the rest are pictures of the band that we took from the overhead projection screen next to the stage. One of them is an interesting tattoo that Jonna noticed on a guy who later was quite happy to let me take a picture of it. The tattoo cracked me up.

Overall, the event was fun. I love going to see these bands that we liked so much in high school as they tour these festivals and watching how much people are still into them after all these years. Its a totally cool thing to watch.

Oh yeah, aside from the music, the ribs were pretty damn good too. I think we’ll definitely be heading out there again in 2007.

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