Quick Hits – July 14, 2017

I wanna be a rock critic

I’m going to indulge my inner Greg Kot here and do a brief review of last night’s Queen with Adam Lambert concert at the United Center.

It was fucking great!


And though you know I love Driver Tom, there was a bit of a mix up so it all started with Tim and Round Trip Car Service getting us there right on time and ended with them swooping in to pick us up just as we walked out of the venue. (You can find Round Trip at 331-222-7195.)

Then it was up to the Stadium Club for an excellent high-end pre-concert buffet dinner. I particularly enjoyed the Cajun strip steak and sundried tomato risotto.

I will admit I was a bit taken aback by the $30 programs and $55 t-shirts, but that in no way deterred a flock of fans from snapping them up.

Then, with no opening act (massive hint to all the other bands), Queen took the stage at 8:18 and ripped through hit after hit until 10:20. And they performed all of the classics:

  • Killer Queen
  • Fat Bottomed Girls
  • Bicycle Race
  • Another One Bites the Dust
  • I Want it All
  • Somebody to Love
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Under Pressure
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (with Freddie Mercury)

Then they encored with ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We are the Champions.’

Look, no one can replace Freddie, but I gotta tell ya, Mr. Lambert completely owned those songs and completely kicked ass. And it certainly didn’t hurt that one flamboyant gay male replaced the other.

Before you hit “send,” when Adam came out in a magenta sequined three piece suit, his first comment was, “Isn’t that the fuckin’ gayest thing you’ve ever seen?” Regardless of anything else, Lambert is a massive stage presence that did justice to one of the most legendary catalogs in the annals of rock and roll history.

Meanwhile, spry 69 year-old guitarist Brian May can still make his “red special” do exactly what he wants and Roger Taylor hasn’t lost a step on the drums. One of the evening’s highlights was a duel between Taylor and backup drummer Rufus Taylor of The Darkness.

What I’m sayin’ is, if you have the opportunity to see Queen with Adam Lambert, you’d be a fool to pass it up.


And speaking of Greg Kott

Though I sometimes think his best albums of the year list are beyond pretentious, a journalistic friend told me just how generous our Tribune rock critic can be.

KotApparently, he wrote Greg during his high school years asking for advice on how to become a rock critic. Not only did Mr. Kot write back, but he invited our young hopeful down to the Trib for a day of learning the ropes firsthand.

And that’s aces in my book.




And speaking of Tribune writers

You know I generally hate people because, well, with some notable exceptions, they generally suck. The best evidence of this hypothesis is my Facebook blocked list just hit the century mark. Now my goal is for that list to exceed my friends list, but for some strange reason, y’all keep insisting on friending me, which makes that proposition much more difficult.

So, stop it!

Meanwhile, because I don’t despise absolutely everyone, I’ve had the best email conversation with Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens. She’s smart, funny, she’s one of the few journalists who can pull off conversational writing and, most of all, she seems to find me somewhat amusing.

Heidi Stevens

And that’s not a word that’s typically associated with Jeff Ward. Heidi even went as far a promising she’d never tell anyone I’m a nice guy.

But what I don’t get is why someone as delightful as Heidi Stevens regularly receives the kind of hate mail that makes this columnist so jealous. So, stop it! The next person that sends Heidi a dire missive is going to have to contend with me.

And by “contend” I mean having me crash on your couch for a month – and I drink a lot of tequila. Trust me! It won’t be pretty, so be nice!


A fidget spinner that makes me fidgety

Enduring an upper back problem that’s made it impossible to run combined with the kind of ADHD that doesn’t respond to medication has made me a bit bitchier than usual.

Yes! It actually is possible.

So, in an effort to stave off familial disaster, my thoughtful 18 year-old son bought me a really nice Chicago Cubs fidget spinner. This, of course, begs the question, “What if your fidget spinner makes you fidget?”

Cubs FidgetYou see, the Cubs kinda suck this year because Manager Joe Maddon has completely lost his mind, the players don’t have that same 2016 swagger, and it’s truly difficult to repeat a championship in any sport, especially baseball. So, in order to enjoy my new fidget spinner and possibly stay married, here’s what I need Theo Epstein to do:

  • Get rid of batting practice pitcher John Lackey. If he can’t figure out he’s got to resort to finesse at the ripe old age of 38, in the words of a famous White Sox announcer, “He gone!”
  • Don’t put Jon Lester in the game until the second inning, because he certainly can’t handle the first. From not being able to throw to first base to this BS? And people think I have issues? He’s nothing more than a $22 million a year mental case.
  • Trade Jake Arrieta while you can still get something for him. At 34, he’s not nearly going to be worth the $29 million a year he’ll be asking on the free agent market. And he’s starting to suck too.
  • Get rid of Pedro Strop who doesn’t begin to understand that keeping the ball up at Wrigley Field never works out too well.
  • Trade Ben Zobrist while some other GM is still stupid enough to go for it. Watching that man attempt to “surround” a fly ball is even more terrifying than watching Donald Trump try to shake hands with world leaders. And even I could hit better than .214 against today’s MLB pitching.
  • Keep Jon Jay – NOT ANTHONY RIZZO – in the leadoff spot against right handers. What could possibly be wrong with a .385 on-base percentage? It’s certainly better than Dexter Fowler’s .336. (The Cardinals and Cubs really oughtta stop signing each other’s players because it never works out well for either team.)

Meanwhile, the trade for Jose Quintana was a great one. Now, all Theo has to do is follow the rest of my advice and I’ll be fidget free. Is that too much to ask?


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