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Emerson Drive at The Cubby Bear

Thursday, April 23, 2009
@ The Cubby Bear in Chicago, IL

There is nothing like Chicago in the Spring and no place better than Wrigleyville which in home to the Chicago Cubs.  Just kitty-corner from the home plate entrance to majestic Wrigley Field is the meeting place for many Cub fans throughout the year, the Cubby Bear.  On this calm night the Cubby Bear played host to Valory Music recording artists, Emerson Dive, a free show sponsored by US99.5.  The crowd slowly filled in after the Cubs game in which the boys from Emerson Drive participated in the festivities of the Cubs - Reds game by singing the National Anthem.  It must have been an honor for them to stand on the very same field that has been host to legends such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Ron Santo and many more.  This year Wrigley Field was host to the NHL’s outdoor classic and will usher in a new era with two major concerts this summer.

Emerson Drive – After taking in the Cubs game, Emerson Drive enjoyed a roof top dinner across the street at the Cubby Bear before their performance.  During that time Cubs fans and Country Music fans packed into the Cubby Bear for the free show.  At 8:00pm on the dot, Emerson Drive took the stage to a full house as the crowd loudly cheered.  Not a word was spoken as they picked up their instruments and blasted the place with a new cut from their forthcoming album “Believe”.  The tune was upbeat and caught everyone’s attention with its well crafted lyrics about following your dream.  “I Love This Road” is sure to be a hit single off the album.  As the song came to an end, Danick Dupelle kicked it into high gear strumming the opening notes to “Testify.”  Emerson Drive offers some great harmonies and nothing shows it more than when they hit the opening notes to “Fall Into Me.”  As they played everyone in the crowd bounced along screaming the lyrics back to the band.  The music stopped as singer, Brad Mates held the microphone out over the crowd as they sang the chorus to the song.  “Awesome,” replied Mates.

Before rolling into the next song, Mates took time to address the audience.  “Thank you very much,” said Brad.  “We would like to thank US99 for sponsoring this show.  We love playing in Chicago.  We also have merchandise and CD’s for sale tonight at our merch table.”  Mates continued, “This was the first single off the last CD.”  The crowd quickly roared in approval as they drove back into the music with “A Good Man” and ran right into the lead cut on the new album “That Kind Of Beautiful.  As the song ended Mates said, “We love this town.  It is always great when we get to come to Chicago.”  The crowd cheered in approval.  “We’ve been playing together for 15 years now and there are many songs that have made an impact on us,” stated Mates, “It’s fun to go back a play some of those great songs and we’d like to play a few for you tonight.”  The crowd was sent into a frenzy as they pounded out the beat to “Fishin’ In The Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  They followed that up with Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer” and completed the cover set with “Next To You” by Shenandoah.  The entire crowd sang every word along with the band.

Brad again addressed the crowd, “We have a new CD coming out soon.  This is one of my favorites from the album.”  The band played yet another beautifully written song with an inspirational message called “The Extra Mile.”  Which lead right into another upbeat song from the forthcoming album, “Too Much,” and had the crowd clapping along with them.  The song lyrically celebrates the pleasures of love and wanting more from that special someone in your life.  With songs like these representing the new album, Emerson Drive is sure to have the fans lined up at the store to purchase “Believe.”

Brad said, “Thank to your support this was our first number one hit 2 years ago.”  The crowd cheered in excitement as they knew exactly what the band was going to play.  From the opening notes to the end of the song everyone sang along with Brad and the band to “Moments.”  The packed house swayed back and forth as many fought back tears of both sadness and enjoyment of this inspirational song of redemption.  There was a dramatic pause in the music before the final verse of the song.  “Thank you.  It is crazy to look back at the ups and downs we've gone through in the last eight years in our business and personal lives," said Brad, "it's obvious they have molded us into something very strong."  He continued, “That song has been nominated for a Grammy and is very special to us.  A few weeks after it went to number one we lost our bass player, Patrick Bourque to suicide.  Thanks for supporting the song.”  

The sadness and somber moment quickly ended as the band rolled back into the music and belted out “I Should Be Sleeping.”  As they came to the chorus Brad would hold his mic out over the crowd and they would scream the lyrics to the band.  The audience danced around as Emerson Drive sang the harmonizing sounds of “Countrified Soul.”  And what would an Emerson Drive concert be without David Pichette laying it all out on the line while jamming out some “Devil Went Down To Georgia” which even throws in some Led Zeppelin for the rock fans in the house.  David really cooks on this song and almost makes you wonder, “how is it possible that his fiddle doesn’t catch fire.”  The Emerson Drive spin on this classic is always worth the listen. 

Tonight the band did everything right and this was one of the best hour sets I have seen.  Emerson Drive is clicking on all cylinders and it looks as though 2009 is going to be an exciting year for the band.  Take my advice, you will want to get a copy of “Believe” when it hits stores and it will be one that you will always have in your MP3 player and in your car stereo. 


1.  I Love This Road
2.  Testify
3.  Fall Into Me
4.  A Good Man
5.  That Kind Of Beautiful
6.  Fishin’ In The Dark
7.  Boys Of Summer
8.  Next To You
9.   The Extra Mile
10. Too Much
11. Moments
12. I Should Be Sleeping
13. Countrified Soul
14. Devil Went Down To Georgia