In this Dream Tour segment, the acoustic pop band, The Shades, let you know who they would like on their ultimate tour lineup. You can check out the feature, after the break.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In our ‘Dream Tour’ lineup, each Shade was responsible for selecting one act, but ALL members of the Shades were required to unanimously approve of each act before the tour became official.
Opening Act: Chance the Rapper, by Andrew DeMuro
Chance the Rapper. Chance the Gospel Singer. Chance the Grammy Winner. Chance the Chicagoan. Chance the Father. Chance the Role Model. Chance the Humanitarian. Chance the Philanthropist. No matter his title, Chancellor Bennet embodies so much of who The Shades are and what we hope to be as artists – it would be a disservice to our ‘dream audience’ to leave him out of our ‘dream tour’ lineup. I was privileged to watch as Chance held his own during his Magnificent Coloring Day, heading a star-studded group of artists featuring John Legend, Common, Alicia Keys & Kanye West. One thing remains for certain: Chance has got the juice on stage. In addition to his obvious talent as a writer and an emcee, his passion for music across genres makes him such an infectious figure. This resonates with The Shades, as our namesake is a salute to the varied influences we hold as musicians and as people. We admire Chance not only for his music, but for his more recent role as an education advocate and champion for Chicago’s most vulnerable youth, including my former students and current mentees in the Guitars Over Guns Organization. We hope to strike a similar balance in our work between quality musicianship and humanitarianism, and we would be honored to have Chance the Rapper open this incredible dream set.
Act Two: Lake Street Dive, by Mark Jacobson
The first time I listened to Lake Street Dive, I did so because I assumed they were a local Chicago band and their name was a play on the famed Chicago highway, Lake Shore Drive. Turns out the two are unrelated, but I suppose there’s no wrong way to discover new music. And with this band, I was instantly hooked. Our bedrock – the foundation on which we build all the songs we write – is our vocal harmony arrangements. And Lake Street Dive is the vocal harmony gold standard. They forced us to change the way we write background vocals – seemingly one of the more insignificant elements of a hit song. The attention these musicians pay to the details in their songs is both clear and effortless, and that’s what makes them so mind-blowingly awesome. All that, plus a trumpet, makes Lake Street Dive one of the most exciting live acts we’ve seen in any setting, ever, and a shoe-in for act two of our ‘Dream Tour’.
Headliner: Stevie Wonder, by Phil Jacobson
The closing act of our ‘Dream Tour’ had to be a dream artist: the incomparable, Stevie Wonder. For as long as I can remember, Stevie’s music has played a critical role in my life. I didn’t start singing in public until high school, but I’ve been jamming along to Stevie Wonder recordings for as long as I can remember. His songs consume me. His voice alone had the ability to completely elevate my mood. When I was 18, I had an opportunity to audition for the prestigious vocal jazz program at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, and although I was a nervous, sweaty mess that day, one of the songs I felt confident singing was a jazzed up version of ‘Superstition’. My performance not only earned me a scholarship to study my passion, but it opened doors for me to pursue a career as a professional musician. Even to this day, after years of listening, studying and performing, Stevie’s songs give the same excitement I felt as a kid. Each Shade has an equally interesting, personal, and strong connection to Stevie Wonder, which makes him an easy choice to headline our Dream Tour. From ‘Innervisions’ to ‘Songs in the Key of Life’, from ‘For Once in My Life’ to ‘Boogie On, Reggae Woman’, Stevie’s timeless, soul-filled music is recognized not just by notes and instrumentation, but by how it makes people feel. He’s been a symbol of hope and harmony to people in times of joy, loss, triumph and self-doubt. Thank you, Stevie!