Gary Clark Jr gets a perfect night in Chicago as he takes over the outdoor stage at Salt Shed

By Roman Sobus


My stomach was in knots Monday afternoon. I had been looking forward to seeing Gary Clark Jr. performing at the outdoor festival grounds of The Salt Shed in Chicago. I had been many times to the indoor venue but this was to be my first time at the outdoor stage. Why all the anxiety? The weather forecasters were calling for thunderstorms into the evening with the possibility of severe thunderstorms. At mid-afternoon, several hours before doors were scheduled to open, the clouds dropped heavy rain for a time on the area. The monsoon left as quickly as it came and bright sunshine shined again! By the time the performance began, the few remaining clouds were being painted a golden hue by the setting sun as a near full moon rose in the east. A perfect evening for an outdoor show!

For those of you not familiar with the artist, Gary Clark Jr. is one of the premier guitarists of new generation of Blues artists. While he draws inspiration from the masters, his style and stage presence, to me are reminiscent of legendary guitarists of the classic rock era. He plays with confidence, making the instrument do his bidding. His band is tight and sounds great! 

Walking onto the stage, he waved to the cheering crowd and got right to business, launching into “Maketub” from his new album “Jpeg Raw” released March of this year. That was followed by “When My Train Pulls In” and “Hyperwave” again from his recent release. In fact, the performance included virtually the full Jpeg Raw album within the 17 song set.  From his catalog of songs, he performed “The Healing”, “Feed the Babies”, “Bright Lights” and “Healing” among others, closing out the evening with “Catfish Blues”

Gary Clark Jr. is no stranger to Chicago. He has headlined The Chicago Blues Festival and graced the stage at the city’s largest festival “Lollapalooza” This evening he drew a great crowd despite it being a Monday night and weather watches and warnings throughout the area.

Opening the evening was Abraham Alexander. He warmed up the crowd with a solid solo acoustic set, while engaging the crowd with stories of his life as a young Black child living in Greece and making the transition to life in Texas. He spoke of taking up playing guitar a mere eight years ago and to see him on the stage that evening is nothing short of phenomenal. I’m certain we will be seeing quite a bit of him in the near future!

The Gary Clark Jr. tour has dates throughout the US thru September. 


Photo Gallery : Gary Clark Jr – Salt Shed (05.20.2024)

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