The 36th Annual Taste of Chicago opened last night with excitement in the crowd and a handful of on-stage surprises.
Grey skies threatened, but the weather held out this night for a packed Chicago audience.
The opening night headliner was Grammy Award winning band The Roots, belting out their unique brand of hip hop and neo-soul for an enthusiastic crowd.
The Roots' rhythm section was fine, as always, with the charismatic Questlove on drums and anchored by the double low end of Tuba Gooding Jr. on Sousaphone and Mark Kelley on bass.
Opening act Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment was a wise choice as opening act, mining the same live-band, jazz-infused hip-hop vibe as the headliners, but also providing a local flair. Trumpet, aka Nico Segal, and his all-Chicago ensemble got the crowd moving in short order.
He also got some help from fellow alumni of Kids These Days, who are veterans to the Taste stage.
Further adding to the musical frenzy, white-hot Chicago-based Chance The Rapper, a frequent Trumpet collaborator joined the band for a few numbers, to the delight of many.
Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment clearly found inspiration in The Roots early on -- the night proceeded like a master class in the art of brassy, highly musical hip hop. From the innovative students to the revered gurus.
Thursday, July 7th The Kongos with special guest Elle King
Friday, July 8th The Decembrists with special guests Shakey Graves
Saturday July 9th Billy Idol with special guest Sons of The Silent Age
Sunday July 10th The Isley Brothers with special guest Sheila E.