There he was: the Leader of the Free World, right before my very eyes, the size of a Tic-Tac. I, along with tens of thousands of other fortunate folks, was sharing a space inside McCormick Place with President Barack Obama, and at this particular point of view, I could squash him between by index finger and thumb. While I had the convenience of a projection screen easily within view of my peripheral, there was something more meaningful behind straining my neck and standing on my tip toes just to catch a glimpse of this man who I had supported these last eight years as it would be perhaps the only time I would have the chance to see him in person.
It was a bittersweet night of course, but not as bitter as the negative degree temperatures I endured in the wee hours of Saturday morning to stand in line for a free ticket. After what seemed to be just a four hour power nap, I awoke at 4:30 AM with little effort in cleanliness and was picked up by a friend at 5 AM. After a short detour of picking up a few other friends, we rode off to Lakeshore Drive in a caravan of hope--hoping to find a parking space, hoping to beat an onslaught of other Obama fans, and hoping to survive a most miserably freezing forecast (if anything, we were hoping the weather would deter a few hundred people from even attempting to show up!).
At 5:45, we were lucky enough to find a parking space on the street, walk our shivering selves into the coziness of McCormick Place's warmish hallways and line up behind what appeared to be a line of 1,000+ eager hopefuls. Props to the team who had to organize the line formations, as the expansiveness of McCormick Place's perimeters had everyone up against the venue's extended walls, forming a pulsing blueprint made up of human beings. My group felt overwhelmed by the massive crowd that already lay ahead of us, but it was nothing compared to the ever growing line behind us!
Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2016. We now present the final list of the top albums of the year, as decided by our volunteers. It's perhaps fitting that the Album of the Year is the final work from one of Pop music's most influential artists of all time, someone whose passing was met with sadness but also an outporuing of emotion and fellowship that gives one hope for the future.
On behalf of the volunteers of CHIRP Radio, THANK YOU for all of your support, and best wishes for 2017 and beyond...!
With numerous deaths from all genres and eras of the music world, 2016 (or now known as “The Year That Shall Not Be Named”) has been incredibly brutal. It seemed like not a week went by without the passing of someone great. While this year will not be looked back positively by this writer, some of the departed left behind new music, which only reinforces that the art of the artist often lives on long after their physical presence leaves us. Here are five of those artists’ swan songs...
David Bowie, Blackstar (ISO/Columbia)
The year that should not be named didn’t hold back any punches. David Bowie died after a secret battle with cancer on January 11, just two days after his 69th birthday, in which he offered us a gift with his 25th and final studio album, Blackstar. Fans and critics immediately listened for any hidden messages that the Starman may have snuck in, even checking the album’s packaging for meaning. “I know something is very wrong” has taken a brand new meaning as the year continued in, delivering one shock after another. (One shock that still stings was it’s exclusion from the Album of the Year shortlist at the Grammy Awards.)