I’m a big fan of the television show Shameless. I prefer the American remake rather than the British version which I find a bit cliched and not that well acted. The Gallagher house is supposed to be set in the rough Southside of Chicago. I looked up the location and it’s more West Chicago but still apparently rough as. There’s a train station close by and the trains are reasonably safe so I thought that I may as well go and have a look. The plan was to visit early in the morning on the proviso that not many hoodlums will be hanging around then. I used this tactic in Belfast when I had a look at the murals at 6am as I’d have been too scared to go any later. I left the station and walked two of the four blocks to the street. I could see a couple of shady characters hanging around further up the road on the corner of the street I wanted to go down. I’ve seen enough of The Wire and shows of that ilk to suggest that often people loitering around street corners may be up to no good. I decided to head back to the station, just as a substantial downpour commenced.

The weather didn’t improve much so I went for a game of darts at the Galway Bar in northern Chicago. I’d brought my new Scott Waites arrows but hadn’t yet had chance to use them so far while travelling. I’m not very good at darts and usually give up on a leg if I can’t do it in 36 darts. I managed to get a respectable (by my standards) 26-dart dart finish. At one point I even left double top for a personal best equally 17-dart finish but then proceeded to miss next 13 doubles!

Thankfully it had cleared up into a reasonably pleasant evening for the main event of the day and possibly the month, Pearl Jam live at Wrigley Field. I’d been looking forward to this for ages after managing to get a ticket months ago. It was one of those shows that sell out almost immediately and I was of the fortunate ones. Despite having seen Pearl Jam loads of times before, this is the first concert of theirs I’ve been to since 2009, although I’ve seen Eddie Vedder playing solo since then. Despite Pearl Jam being regarded as a Seattle band, Eddie Vedder is from Illinois and a big Chicago Cubs fan, which makes a show at this stadium even more special. They played a legendary concert here in 2013 which was interrupted by lighting, only for Pearl Jam to come back on stage later and play until 2am! Tonight they were on until about half-past eleven, a total of about three and a half hours. The music was great. Pearl Jam are one of those bands that vary their setlist every night so there’s always the chance that there will be an obscure classic played that you love. Tonight I heard the great Bee Girl for the first time. A minor criticism would be that baseball stadiums aren’t really designed to host music performances with the majority of the crowd in the curved part of the stands that is the furthest distance from the stage. However the setting of a classic baseball stadium made it feel like a fantastic event, something that you’d remember forever. There were plenty of Chicago-related special guests on stage, most of whom I didn’t recognise. The final (of many) encores was performed by Eddie, resplendent in a Cubs shirt. Sitting next to me was a Cubs fan who had travelled up from Atlanta to see his first Pearl Jam concert and he was absolutely loving it! Everyone else seemed to be too. What a night!

The only evidence of going anywhere near the Shameless location
Raining in the hood



The great Eddie Vedder