A New-Old Platform For Live Entertainment
Photos by: Roman Sobus
The drive-in theaters of the 50’s and 60’s have been mostly replaced by shopping malls and the shopping malls of the 80’s and 90’s have been mostly replaced by apartment buildings. Now in the middle (beginning?) of a pandemic that equates distance from others with physical safety, the live entertainment industry is scrambling to find space again for drive-in experiences.
The Lake Shore Drive-In takes place right off scenic Lake Shore Drive, in the Adler Planetarium parking lot. “Doors” for the Vic Mensa show opened around 7 so the real opener was the sunset we caught along the way. Lot space filled up quickly because the social distancing protocol that was strictly enforced with only one car in every other spot (or 8 feet distances between parked cars), created an imaginary bubble for everybody in the audience. Lakeshore Drive-in prides itself on keeping everyone safe throughtout each event and they have received a lot of positive responses already for those efforts.
On the way in, we were given a complimentary four-pack of Evening Red Bull, which just turned out to be regular Red Bull with stuff like “nothing puts more life in your nightlife like an ice-cold can of Red Bull” and “The day might be ending but the fun is just getting started” on the packaging. And while I think having an entire Red Bull after 7pm should be reserved for road trips and night shifts, it was a welcome sponsor.
Among the drink pack were two other things of note: One, a flyer for a Back to School Event & Peace Walk at Overton Elementary on September 19th, put on by Save Money Save Life and Social Works Chicago, and two, a QR Code that brought you to a site where you could order food, drinks, and shirts to your car, like if Sonic had a merch menu.
The show was opened by Evie the Cool and Wyatt Waddell, followed by a set from DJ Oreo which was cut off by technical difficulties but quickly back up and running again with an introduction for Vic. Vic gave us a taste of hits like “U Mad,” and “Down On My Luck,” but was obviously there to celebrate the release of his most personal project yet, last month’s The
He interspersed messages of self-growth and community empowerment between songs, telling a story about his time in Palestine and how the refugee camps overlooking the “rolling hills” of the land stolen from the Palestinians reminded him of being in Chicago at Cabrini-Green peering out at Magnificent Mile. His message being that the oppressor thrives on the tumult of the oppressed.
The last time I saw Vic was at a protest in Bronzeville, where he led us on a march to Washington Park and referred to everyone as his comrade. It’s nice to see that nothing has changed a few months later even as he headlined the Planetarium- Radical Vic is here to stay.
As an encore, Vic and vocalist Darius Scott sang “We Could Be Free” off The Autobiography and just when everybody thought it was over, the organ from “Cocoa Butter Kisses” made way for Chance the Rapper who, with help from Vic, managed to remember most of the words from his seven-year-old verse.
And just as our methods of consuming live entertainment have gone full circle with the re-popularization of the drive-in model, so have some things for Vic who recently moved back to Chicago after spending some high highs and low lows in Los Angeles.
There are plenty more great (and safe) live drive-in shows coming up this month, check out who’s coming and get your tickets now to experience a live show like no other! Visit the Lakeshore Drive-in website here.
Check out live photos of the event here!
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