After the first lie-in of what felt like a very long time, we all reconvened at a sunny and warm Dallas Fort Worth airport on Wednesday afternoon. The flight to Chicago was nice and short – but we nevertheless emerged to temperatures 20 degrees colder than we left behind. With the smell of Texan BBQ sauce still hot in our nostrils and the sound of country music still ringing through our heads we headed out into the frozen North.
We made it to our homestays in Hinsdale after a first experience of Chicago’s tri-state freeway at rush “hour” (it took us considerably longer than an hour…) and were greeted with a huge meal and a collection of weird and wonderful beers that made for an entertaining evening which concluded in a pilgrimage to Xander’s place of birth somewhere in suburban Chicago.
On Thursday morning we headed into downtown to perform at Chicago Latin School, once to an assembly of the upper school and then to a middle school choir class – the reception was insane, so thank you for having us! As well as singing some songs, including CGWEY by popular demand – we answered questions and encouraged them to keep at the singing in the hope of one day becoming as cool as us (except Duncan).
We then engaged in all-out snowball warfare against each other – newbies vs. the vets. Matt declined to take part as he recognised the very real threat that he would get an ear infection, which is totally fair enough… Following this we all walked further into the city via Lincoln Park and grabbed lunch at Pizzeria Uno so we could experience some true Chicago deep-dish Pizza. They were kind enough to give us a free pizza in exchange for a tune or two!
With a few hours to kill, we headed to Shedd aquarium in the hope of researching some new obscure crustacean names for the recently joined basses (noone has claimed the ‘Caprellid’ title just yet). George, being a hippy, refused to promote the exploitation of animals so boycotted the trip. Instead, he and Xander went on a cute date down to the lake to play with the ice.
The concert that evening took place at Fenwick High School where we were greeted with another enthusiastic audience, relieving us of our last CDs only three concerts into the tour – we can’t quite believe it!
After a long day of being friends and making sounds, we headed back to one of our homestays for a chilled out evening joined by some of our mates (yes, we do have friends outside of TOG) from the Chicago area before catching an early night -although some us were staying on Elm Street, we had no nightmares (sorry) during our stay in Chicago.
Chicago – we nearly froze, but we loved it!