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Chicago, IL

Chemical Brothers Paul Oakenfold Sasha & Digweed

Release Date: 04.20.02
Record label: Allstate Arena
Genre(s): Country Western

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Feel What They Feel
by: tom reiter

Music-Critic.com attended the Chicago stop for the Chemical Brothers' U.S. tour, held at the Allstate Arena (more about that later), where Paul Oakenfold and Sasha & Digweed also performed.

The evening began waiting in line for an hour+ in sub-40 degree weather while patrons were slowly ushered in through a single door. Yes, that's right, organizers and security only had one door open to allow people in. During the wait, at least one person was rushed away in an ambulance bundled in blankets.

Once inside, we attempted to make it to the floor to start dancing...'attempted' being the key word. We found out the hard way that only a certain number of tickets were issued with floor access, all other ticket holders were forced into the seated portion of the arena. The floor size was relatively small. Normally the size of a hockey rink, a stage was set up on either end where the goals would be, and a sound booth in the middle. (Talk about an asinine set-up for an electronic dance concert.)

Paul Oakenfold began the night's adventures, and the crowd instantly responded to his energetic mix of trance and euro-house. Oakenfold's emotional selection of tracks coupled with video-art of several U.S. cities made for a dramatic dance experience. But that was just the beginning.

After a quick filler set by S & D, the Chemical Brothers took the stage. They were set up on center stage in a 'cockpit' of equipment. From this cockpit they controlled an extensive array of electronic music equipement, and the crowd. Digital images were projected on the front of their cockpit and on a circular screen hung above them.

The Chemi's mixed an unbelievable first set of their music. At the beginning of their second set, a large curtain revealed a huge screen behind them, onto which more imagery was projected.

The Chemical Brothers performed two extensive sets of their own music, as well as an encore presentation that left onlookers in awe. They ended their performance with a demonstration of the awesome capabilities of electronic equipment, showing their roots in the industry as true electronic artists.

Ending at about 11:30 P.M., it seemed a little early for the events to be over. Sure enough, Sasha & Digweed took stage for an extended 'after party' session. They mixed house music on into the night for people to dance...too bad only those on the floor could really enjoy it.

Is paying $50 for ticket, stand outside for an hour in the cold, and be stuck in seats in order to see the Chemi's worth it? Hell yeah.