B-52s at Ravinia Festival: The Whole Shack Shimmies!

I have always believed it takes a special kind of person to enjoy music by the B-52s. Read into that whatever you want, but realize that *I* am indeed one of those special kinds of people: always have been. I was completely over-the-moon a couple of months ago when I found out that they would play the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park this summer, and immediately made plans with a friend to attend.

Ravinia is a very different concert experience from the norm. Rather, it CAN be. If you want to see a concert like you normally would, you sit in the pavilion seats. And then there’s the lawn. The lawn, a grassy (duh) area that surrounds the entire pavilion, is where you can sit if you want to pay less (nearly half!), and bring your own picnic, blanket, chairs, and anything else you might need while enjoying the sounds of a great concert. (Some people even bring candlesticks. More on that at my personal blog.) What’s great is that, after eating our lovely dinner, we could walk over to the pavilion and still see the action for a while.

So what about the music? It was great. They sounded just as fabulous (and true to their recorded voices, unlike so many pop acts of today) as they did when I last saw them, in 1990 during the “Cosmic Thing” tour. There’s something comfortable about them; their sound is reliable. I got exactly what I expected as a member of the audience and long-time fan.

The atmosphere was definitely party-like, but not “drunken party-like”. Due to the nature of their music (lyrics AND sound), their concert audiences enjoy good, clean, family fun. I saw children of all ages bopping around right next to their parents–kids of all ages, I guess–and it blew my mind to think about the fact that the B-52s have been around for 31 years. The members of the band are in their late 50′s and early 60′s, for goodness sakes, and still rockin’.

I found this nifty setlist to share with you; though it’s from Lancaster, PA, they used the same exact list when they played Ravinia. If you click through, you can listen to the songs, which means I can skip the playlist for this post. (I’m always looking for shortcuts, you know!) I loved that they played most of my favorites, and closed out the evening with “Rock Lobster”.

If you’re not a B-52s fan, you probably only know “Love Shack”, their most mainstream hit. I did you a favor and held my arms up over my head at the back of the pavilion for more than five minutes so I could get it on film for you. Considering the fact that five minutes is a really long time to hold anything steady over your head, I suggest that you close your eyes and listen, rather than making yourself sick trying to watch the video. But if you want to risk it? Suit yourself. Click here to watch and listen.

If you’d like to experience more of their stuff, I suggest “Private Idaho”, “Give Me Back My Man”, “Whammy Kiss”, “Deadbeat Club”, “Roam”, “Planet Claire”…wait a minute. Just listen to them all. THAT’S what I suggest.

13 Responses to B-52s at Ravinia Festival: The Whole Shack Shimmies!
  1. Ri
    July 27, 2010 | 7:11 pm

    OMG. I am listening now and having my own little B-52′s lovefest. I haven’t heard “Give Me Back My Man” in AGES. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And “Whammy Kiss” – “Planet Claire”? Pure awesome. Thanks for this. Made my night!

    “I’ll give you FISH! I’ll give you CANDY! …” ;)
    Ri´s last [type] ..Sunday Scoop – Back to Normal

    • Melisa
      July 27, 2010 | 7:15 pm

      I had a couple of their records (ha! records!) on real vinyl, and then cassettes. I only had one CD. So I came home and bought “Nude on the Moon”, their anthology. I HIGHLY recommend it!

      (and I LURVE “Give me back my man” too! LOVELOVELOVE!)
      Melisa´s last [type] ..Tin Roof! Rusted

  2. Kathryn
    July 27, 2010 | 7:13 pm

    Thank you for the playlist. Considering I stole your entire B-52′s playlist from Blip.fm you already know I am a HUGE rabid fan. I can’t believe they are in their late 50′s and early 60′s, that means I am VERY old..ok not very, but I have seen 40 already and I am not pleased.
    Kathryn´s last [type] ..Help for military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice

    • Melisa
      July 27, 2010 | 7:16 pm

      Never fear; I am also old. Right there with ya. But we’re still rockin! :)
      Melisa´s last [type] ..Tin Roof! Rusted

    • Ri
      July 27, 2010 | 7:16 pm

      psssst. Kathryn. I’m stalking you. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! ;)
      (I am so easily amused, it’s scary. lol)
      Ri´s last [type] ..Sunday Scoop – Back to Normal

  3. OHmommy
    July 27, 2010 | 7:52 pm

    I love Ravinia. Love. Any concert there is a fun one.

  4. oh_pook
    July 27, 2010 | 8:46 pm


    My girlfriend and I had a dance to Dance this Mess Around in high school.

    It made me sad, when I finally got around to purchasing Whammy on CD, that they didn’t include Don’t Worry *sigh*

    Great post, Melisa, Thanks!

  5. oh_pook
    July 28, 2010 | 9:25 am

    Alrighty… it’s been over 12 hours with

    Don’t worry Don’t
    Worry worry worry worry worry worry worry worry
    Don’t don’t Don’t don’t Don’t don’t worrrr-rryyy

    stuck in my brain Hahaha!!!

  6. Erin Street
    July 28, 2010 | 5:12 pm

    Love this post and your site! I too saw them in 1990 during the “Cosmic Thing” tour and have always enjoyed their retro party vibe. Really enjoying introducing my 4-year old to them now — he digs “Rock Lobster.” Thanks for sharing!

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    September 20, 2014 | 11:53 pm

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    Emanuel´s last [type] ..Emanuel

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