Not all weekends are created equal.
Sure, there are always great places to go and fun things to do. But some weekends serve up an embarrassment of entertainment riches -- and this is one of them.
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The music of pop legend Michael Jackson melds with the choreography of Cirque du Soleil in a show available for just two nights at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.
Sports fans can head to Rosemont to see some of the greats, while music lovers will be faced with tough choices -- or big ticket bills -- trying to take in all that Friday and Saturday have to offer.
Here's a look that might help you make up your mind:
Long live the 'King'
The King of Pop's reign lives on as Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" comes to the Sears Centre.
The tour, which played Chicago's United Center in 2012, is one of the top 10 grossing music tours of all time -- a feat not even Michael himself attained.
"It says a lot about the show," said show publicist Laura Silverman. "We've been around the world, so even if you saw it the first time in Chicago, the show has gone through several changes since then."
What hasn't changed is the spectacle -- a mix of Jackson's hits, dancing, acrobatic feats and costumes in a rock-concert format.
Many of the show's creative members, including choreographers and musicians, worked with Jackson personally for several years. Iconic MJ movements will bring the show to life, and the team took some creative liberty as well.
"If you're a Michael Jackson fan, it's a show made for you," Silverman said.
The show is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, at the Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. Tickets are $50 to $175 and available at cirquedusoleil.com/MichaelJackson, searscentrearena.com or by calling (847) 649-2270.
For Boomers and blues fans
Rock fans of a certain age are in luck this weekend, with many stars from their youth still going strong on tour and performing in major Chicago-area venues. Blues fans are also in luck, with a major music festival returning to a relatively new concert venue in Aurora.
If you want to experience one of the surviving Beatles in concert locally, then don't miss Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago. Tickets are $49-$190, with just a few left earlier in the week. Call (312) 462-6300 or visit thechicagotheatre.com.
Another Boomer favorite -- James Taylor and his All-Star Band -- finishes the second of two concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 27, at the Ravinia Festival at 418 Sheridan Road in Highland Park. Sadly, it's sold out. Call (847) 266-5100 or visit ravinia.org.
Get a musical blast of the tropics when Jimmy Buffett brings his "This One's For You Tour" to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park. The concert is 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and tickets are $36-$136. Call (877) 598-8694 or visit margaritaville.com.
Music lovers also can check out the Blues on Fox Festival at RiverEdge Park, 360 Broadway St., Aurora.
Joe Louis Walker launches the two-day festival at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, and he's followed by Jimmie Vaughan at 9. The festival continues on Saturday, June 28, starting with a 3 p.m. concert featuring Samantha Fish. Tab Benoit goes on at 5, followed by Taj Mahal at 7. Los Lonely Boys concludes the festival at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $20 per day, and kids ages 12 and under admitted free if accompanied by an adult. Call (630) 896-6666 or visit riveredgeaurora.com.
Sports fans will be in their element with the chance to meet more than 50 sports superstars at the Fanatics Authentic Sports Spectacular convention this weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
More than 200 vendors will be showing and selling sports memorabilia. And guests can have up-close photo and autograph opportunities with sports stars such as Baseball Hall of Fame member Greg Maddux, former Chicago White Sox player and manager Ozzie Guillen, Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks (and 24 other former Cubs players) and baseball/football all-star Bo Jackson. Chicago Bears players Jared Allen and Kyle Long and former Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman are also featured guests.
The convention runs 4:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 27, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 29, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont. General admission is $10 for adults; $5 children ages 10 and younger and free for children ages 3 and younger. VIP tickets are $99. To purchase admission and autograph tickets, visit fanaticsauthenticshows.com.