Earlier this year we highlighted singer Mavis Staples' stunning span of contributions to Chicago's music community over the past half century. She was also the subject of a recent biography by Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot. Her hometown shows seem to attract larger and larger crowds every time she plays. And, yet, none of this seems like quite enough to honor a woman who has accomplished so much in her life.Next week, Mavis Staples finally gets her due. On Wednesday, November 19, a mind-blowingly star-studded tribute concert will be held in her honor at the Auditorium Theater.
"I'll Take You There - Celebrating 75 Years of Mavis Staples" is attracting musicians from all across the country (and several locals as well). Performers will take the stage with an all-star house band - which includes Staple's longtime guitarist Rick Holmstrom, former Bonnie Raitt and Dixie Chicks' guitarist George Marinelli and Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Sonny Emory - to reimagine some of Ms. Staples' classics.
As for the guest performers? The list goes on and on. Gregg Allman, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Church, Jeff Tweedy & Spencer Tweedy, Widespread Panic, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Glen Hansard, Patty Griffin, Aaron Neville, Grace Potter, Ryan Bingham, Joan Osbourne, Buddy Miller Keb' Mo', Michael McDonald, Otis Clay and Win Butler and Regine Cassagne of Arcade Fire will all make tributary appearances at the show.
While it's hard to imagine a more talent-packed show, we're most excited to see how Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his 18-year-old son Spencer will honor their fellow Chicagoan. The elder Tweedy has produced Staples' last two albums (including the highly acclaimed You Are Not Alone) and maintained a friendship with her over the years. We fully expect some emotion-heavy moments during this part of the show.
Amazingly, tickets haven't sold out quite yet. Upper level seats start at $75 and prices go up from there. A quick check on Ticketmaster this morning reveals available seats in a variety of sections. Buy them here.