My first time in the Electric Ballroom for a gig and I found it a pretty good experience. It felt big enough that I was completely comfortable to stand where I could have some space and I still had an amazing view of the stage.
First support was Super Happy Fun Club, another Chicago band. I really liked their sound and their vibe, plenty of energy on stage, and I'd had a quick little listen to some of their music before the gig and recognised some of it so it must have got stuck somewhere in my head. They delivered a solid set.
Next on was My Passion. I thought they were also pretty good, but maybe a little heavy for my personal tastes and the lighting guy seemed to be going a bit mad with the strobe which wound me up a bit. But, it was bursting with energy and they sounded great as a live act.
Onto Madina Lake then. From the second they stepped out, I started grinning like a fool and I don't think I stopped until the lights came up at the end of the show. Their whole vibe is so infectious, and it was a totally different atmosphere to last August when they had to play without Matthew whilst he was recovering. That time, totally emotional, and this time absolutely on fire and sparky - they looked as though they had a brand new lease of life, and a proud confidence that a band has when they know they've delivered the best music of their careers so far, produced exactly as they wanted.
The set was a pretty balanced selection of tracks from all three albums, including 'Howdy Neighbor' and 'Imagineer' from latest album WWIII. If I'd been in charge of picking the set, I would have picked an almost identical list, possibly with the exception that I'd have thrown in 'Across 5 Oceans' as I think it lends itself to jumping around with a big crowd of people and singing at the top of your voice. Without giving too much away, I'll say that the staging was pretty thoughtful and immersive which added to the buzz.
My only real criticisms of the show were that the sound in the venue wasn't the best ever and Jeezi was a little in the shadows at the back of the stage, but at least his drums were on a platform this time so he wasn't completely lost behind the other guys.
Overall a fantastic and fun show from four truly brilliant and inspiring guys. I went home happy, uplifted, and exhausted, and that's all I can really ask for.