The Copernicus Center welcomed Sparks to the windy city on March 19, 2022. Photos and review by Jim Snyder.
Saturday Night March 19th finally came; I have been waiting to see Sparks again since seeing their killer documentary movie The Sparks Brothers. I have been into this crazy musical duo Ron & Russell Mael since the mid 1970’s. I even went to a Rick Springfield show just to see them, when they were an opener and then I promptly left when Sparks the left stage; that is the kind of fan I am, and I know I am not alone here.
I was surprised when ushered to my seat in the front row. I clutched my photo pass, cursed my broken left leg, and sat secure in the knowledge that I am in for one heck of a show! The Copernicus Center is one of my fav rooms in the Chicago to see a show. There are about 1500 seats, all with great sight lines, and the staff is so helpful.
My friend who I had brought to the show had never even heard of Sparks let alone ever seem them. The lights come up and the band fired up the show with “So May We Start.” I look over at my friend, Phil, and I see a smile on this face- he must be liking it.
I am snapping away pic after pic during the time designated for photographers to shoot. I have three songs to get my work done, and I was smiling all the time that I had Sparks in my view finder. Then, once I put my camera down, I can resume the show and be just a fan.
Russell is dancing across the stage singing in the unique falsetto voice for which he is so famous. Ron is just sitting at his keyboard, looking like Charlie Chaplin with no emotion, something that fans know is Ron’s stage persona.
The brothers are backed by an amazing five-piece band in the dimmed, haze-filled room of dry ice and monotone lighting. All the attention is on Ron & Russell when they break into one of my favorite songs, “I Married Myself.” Wow! Now it’s “Wonder Girls” and I am singing along as my friend and most of the crowd are, too. The energy of the room was pure joy you could feel it and when I looked over the crowd all showed their smiles, everywhere.
This show was two hours of pure pop silliness, but that is Sparks! They lighten every dark shadow, with bright light and do not take themselves too seriously. Then they broke into “The Number One Song in Heaven,” which was an enormously powerful and moving song live. Sparks followed with “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us.” (If you watch TV ads it’s the song for the new Apple iPad.) The crowd is on their feet singing and clapping with pure joy.
If you have not heard of Sparks, then check them out- they are infectious, and you will be hooked like i was many years ago. Phil was hooked after his first Sparks show. These guys have been around since 1971 and there is a good reason: they just want to have fun with music and make their fans smile.
So May We Start
Angst in My Pants
Tips for Teens
Under the Table With Her
Get in the Swing
I Married Myself
Stravinsky’s Only Hit
Shopping Mall of Love
We Love Each Other So Much
Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
Music That You Can Dance To
The Rhythm Thief
Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth
When Do I Get to Sing “My Way”
My Baby’s Taking Me Home
The Number One Song in Heaven
This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us
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