Thursday, October 29, 2015

Brian Wilson Concert Ticket Give-Away - Part 3

Winner #3 in this week's ticket giveaway to see Brian Wilson Live In Concert at the Genesee Theatre on Wednesday, November 11th, goes to Bob Benham of Chicago, Illinois ... who turned in this winning entry ...

Hey Kent,   
I’ve been a Brian Wilson fan since more or less 1966, when I heard his aching falsetto on Caroline, No and then received Pet Sounds for Christmas. What an ear-opener
Even then, as a 12-year old budding music listener I realized the vocals, arrangements and musicianship on that LP surpassed much of the music I’d heard (I wasn’t yet familiar with the Wrecking Crew gang — that’d be much later :) Brian’s music to me is the sound of summer days & summer nights and endless summer (to echo several LP titles) ... The warmth of the sun … California girls … the paradise that was mid-60’s southern California.  
His song themes have often been nostalgic and sensitive  (“When I Grow Up”, “The Lonely Sea” ), yet often simple (“Drive-In” ) and was a soundtrack to the lives of a generation growing up in the 60s. 
I thought his best ballads were as good as The Beatles (“In My Room”). I loved Brian's Wall of Sound production — even though he emulated Spector’s technique, Brian put his own stamp on it.  
As time passed I became more intrigued and fascinated by the man himself and his inner torment … how he descended to the depths of despair only to resurrect his career. IMO The Smile album derailed him for a while … 
I was thrilled to catch him on his Pet Sounds Tour a number of years ago (2000?) — that was a Happening!  
I caught him again at Ravinia in 2013 with Beach Boys David Marks & Al Jardine in the band, and again this past June with Al Jardine & Blondie Chaplin. Even got to see some of the soundcheck (“Do It Again” ).  It was the only concert I attended this summer. The man’s a living legend. 
And considering Brian is due to do a British farewell tour next year you know he’ll likely retire from live performing before long … so I’d like the chance to Do It Again and see this American treasure and his great accompanying band … and I can see you guys, too!  
Bob Benham   
Chicago, IL 

We couldn't have put together an incredible give-away like this without the help and support of The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan (and Colleen Rogalski in particular) ... so thanks again, all for helping us make this happen.   
If you've never been to this theatre before, I can assure you that it must be seen to be believed. 

It first opened to the public on Christmas Day, 1927, a year and a half (and one million dollars!) after investors A.L. Brumund, H.C. Burnett, and D.T. Webb purchased the land, at the corner of Genesee and Clayton Streets, from the Y.M.C.A. (built in 1912) for $130,000.  Waukegan contractor Alva Weeks and Chicago architect Edward P. Steinberg were hired to construct the Theatre. (Steinberg had just built the BelPark and State Theatres in Chicago within the last few years.)  

Construction began in September of 1926.  Originally opened as a movie theater (Christmas Day, 1927, saw four sold out shows and included the film "The Valley Of The Giants") it was based on bigger visions right from the start.  No expense was spared in the creation of the Genesee Theatre. The outside façade was built from terra cotta and pressed brick in ornate design. The main entrance was located on Genesee Street and opened into a huge lobby with a large chandelier. The interior was designed in a Spanish Renaissance style using caen stone, which is a light yellow limestone, and antique plaster décor. The large center dome in the auditorium was fashioned from hammered silver. More than 1200 yards of tapestry fabric, several tons of marble from the Carrera quarries in Italy, and lighting throughout the Theatre combined to make it the most lavish building in Waukegan.  The stage was equipped with the newest technology in stagecraft in order to accommodate live theatre, like vaudeville, music presentations, and film. A massive $25,000 Barton Grande pipe organ was a focal point of the Theatre. For comfort, the Theatre was outfitted with the most advanced heating and cooling system of its time.  

In 1952, the Genesee Theatre was renovated with new seats, a new sound system, and some changes to the décor. 

Thirty years later, in 1982, the Theatre stopped showing movies due to economic decline and the rise of major movie cineplexes. And a few years later (in 1989), it officially closed and went up for sale.   

The City of Waukegan purchased the building in 1999 and began renovations at a cost of almost $23 million with the help of over 120 volunteers. The Genesee Theatre reopened on December 3, 2004 with two sold out shows of Bill Cosby.  (Hmm ... I wonder if they're still anxious to promote this fact?!?!  Then again ... to the best of my knowledge anyway ... no seductive cocktails were exchanged that night.)

Again, the vision was of the grandest scale.  Every attempt was made to restore the Genesee Theatre to its former glory of 1927 ... however several major and minor changes were made. The 1950s marquee was taken down and a new marquee was reproduced from original photographs of the theatre in the 1920s to the 1940s. A lobby was added on Genesee Street where the sidewalk had originally been. The original box office was taken out and moved in order to accommodate more doors into the Grand Lobby. The walls and décor of the original lobby, now the Grand Lobby, were restored ... however a walkway joining both second floor lounges was added. The apartments and suites previously housed on the three upper floors were torn down and fashioned into lounges for theatre use.  

In the auditorium, the balcony was extended to the front and back and the projection booth at the back of the balcony was shifted backward. These modifications allowed the theatre to increase its seating capacity from 1,799 to 2,416. Antique chandeliers and light fixtures from the time period were collected from all over the country and placed throughout the theatre while some lighting fixtures were replicated. The plaster moldings were cleaned and restored and the carpet was replicated from a 1927 photograph. The stage doubled in size and was outfitted with 21st century technology in order to accommodate new entertainment.

Despite the changes to the Theatre, the historic integrity of the Genesee has stood the test of time. From the street and within its walls, the Genesee Theatre is reminiscent of the hope and beauty of the early 20th century and remains a center of the Waukegan community. 

And, in 2009, the city of Waukegan granted The Genesee Theatre Landmark Status.  It truly is one of the most beautiful and historic theatres anywhere in the country.  (Several weeks ago, their contact with the city of Waukegan was extended for another ten years, assuring many more great shows to come and grace the stage of this beautiful theatre.)

In addition to the Brian Wilson show scheduled for November 11th, The Genesee Theatre has several other great shows coming up between now and the end of the year ... 

Jay Leno - 10/29

Brian Setzer Orchestra 11/17 - Christmas show

Christopher Cross 11/22

Michael Bolton 12/8

Darlene Love 12/16

and, JUST ADDED, Chicago's own Richard Marx, appearing December 4th 

You can order your tickets for ALL of these shows through the theatre's online box office ...  

What a BEAUTIFUL way to spend an evening. 


Dear Kent;
If I was governor of California I would insist that the state adopt "God Only Knows' as its official song.  
Seeing Brian Wilson over six different decades has been a musical experience of boundless joy.  
Question: Are Brian and Mike Love in one of their periodic separations? 
I frankly have no interest in seeing the Mike and the Beach Boys but would travel 400 miles tonite by car to see Brian Wilson, America's greatest living poet - inches ahead of Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson. 
Would love to see the upcoming concert at the Genesee to see Brian and to hear Blondie Chaplin's majestic vocal on "Sail On Sailor."  
Finally, never compare the Eagles to the Beach Boys. There is no comparison. The Boys are the undisputed heavyweight champs - America's greatest rock 'n roll band. End of issue.  
Chet Coppock
Host: Notre Dame football on WLS Radio
Author: Buffone: Monster of the Midway
I think Brian and Mike have ALWAYS been more "off" than "on".  You've still got time to catch Brian at The Genesee but you'd better hurry ... I think the rest of these tickets are going to go pretty fast!  (For the record, I have been informed that Blondie Chaplin will NOT be with Brian for this Chicago-area appearance.  I apologize for any confusion and / or false hope my previous information may have caused.)  kk