Andrew Bird at Millennium Park

On a gorgeous night by the lakefront, Illinois native Andrew Bird appeared on stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park for the first time. People were lined up hours before the opening band started to jam the seating bowl. Behind the seated section, people were lounging on the lawn and still had a stellar view of the three video screens underneath the gigantic, metallic façade.
Having made the trip from CU, we arrived at 7:10 pm and to my dismay Occidental Brothers only played for a half hour. Though the opportunity of seeing one of Chicago’s great world music groups was gone, I was still excited to see Andrew Bird from a nice spot on the lawn. The lawn offered a nice view of the stage, and standing up allowed a view of Andrew himself.
When Bird finally took the stage, he was alone, reminiscent of the show last September at Krannert Center. He went all the way back to his days with Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire for his opening number, a stunning version of “Why?” He subtly announced he would do one more before being joined by his band. “The Giant of Illinois,” originally done by The Handsome Family, served as a great tribute a great city and great state.
His band arrived to the stage shortly after to play an extended set covering all of his releases since 2003’s Weather Systems. “Fiery Crash” started the proceedings, which was followed by “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left,” a crowd favorite. Bird is a dynamic songwriter and there is nothing he hates more than getting bored by his own music. Because of this, his live shows are completely separate from his recorded material. “Nervous Tic” best exemplifies this, as Andrew is never afraid to change the rhythm, pitch, or even the words of his lyrics. Amazingly, his band is always on the same page.
Bird played additional songs from Armchair Apocrypha and Mysterious Production of Eggs, including “Itimosis,” “Mx Missiles,” “Opposite Day,” “Plasticities,” and of course “Armchairs.” The highlight of the set was when (I assume) someone up front asked, “Will there be snacks?” Andrew answered, “Oh yes, there will be snacks.” This is a reference to the Eggs track “Tables and Chairs,” which is about starting a new society. Just one of the many delightful moments during a truly wonderful night.

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