This past Wednesday night, Gary Allan graced his fans in Chicago with an incredible concert at Joe’s Bar. From the moment doors opened, excitement was in the air as fans filed in the narrow back hallway to the expansive standing room only concert venue. On this night, it truly was standing room only as the room filled up by show time. Once the anticipation had reached an all-time peak, lights went down and the room was filled with a loud and powerful whooshing sound. The strong recording of a helicopter taking off brought the cheers high as Allan took the stage sporting a black leather jacket, black t-shirt, and casual jeans. It was clear from the beginning of the opening number, “Watching Airplanes,” that Allan felt right at home in the bar scene surrounded by dozens of other country-loving fans.
After a dozen classic hits, Allan brought the tempo down with “Best I Ever Had.” He had a clear presence of somberness and genuineness that encouraged the crowd to sing his own lyrics back to him. In a seamless transition, Allan sang “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.” With hands in the air, friends all over the room sang the song loud enough to be heard over Allan. The raw emotion was contagious to all those present. As Allan held his mic out towards the audience, the soulful voices of Chicago country fans echoed through the halls.
Allan picked up the energy with current hit “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” Currently sitting at #7 on Billboard’s top country airplay list, the song was clearly a crowd favorite. As the end drew near, Allan closed out with, “Right Where I Need to Be.” As he left the stage, the crowd shouted their approval and the chant of “Gary” slowly crept through the crowd begging for an encore.
While Allan stuck to his electric guitar throughout most of the performance, he came back with an acoustic guitar to the tune “Alright Guy.” The crowd cheered as Allan belted the chorus “I think I’m an alright guy.” While Allan is a man of few words, he transitioned to his last song with a simple phrase and a bottle of Jack Daniels raised high: “This is my favorite whisky song right here!” With that, Allan closed out the night with “Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey” along with many of his closest friends in Chicago.
Brennan Bowman / US99.5