My girlfriend and I were excited to see the Queensryche billboard along Route 12 advertising Fiesta Days in McHenry -- her because she used to be a huge fan, and me because it was fascinating that a band as big as Queensryche was coming to the suburbs.
It got me wondering what other big, nostalgic names were coming around this summer.
Remember Queensryche? The progressive metal rockers from the '80s and '90s? They're back, and paired with Great White, in what promises to be a heavy blend of hair and metal and rock. Well, they've been around for a while, so maybe not so much hair. But celebrating a 25-year anniversary of the album "Operation: Mindcrime" certainly has the Queensryche crew energized for touring.
7 p.m. Saturday, July 13: $10 general admission. McHenry Fiesta Days, 4300 Petersen Park Road, McHenry; mchenryfiestadays.com or (815) 385-4300.
If you've never stopped believin' (yeah, I went there), you might want to venture down to Springfield to catch Journey at the Illinois State Fair Sunday, Aug. 18. Or see the band closer to home when they play two days that week at Ravinia.
When a band like Journey has been around long enough to have a Greatest Hits album, you know you're going to hear a pretty eclectic range of musical styles. The show's set list promises just that, bounding from classic rockers like "Wheel In the Sky" to love anthems like "Faithfully" to the always popular (maybe too popular … thanks, "Glee"!) "Don't Stop Believin'."
Paired up with Journey at the State Fair is Night Ranger, a band I just found out is known for more than just "Sister Christian." I consider myself schooled. Turns out I've liked Night Ranger for years without knowing it was Night Ranger. This matchup is bound to bring out a sea of lighters at some point in the night. Or wait, is it cellphones now?
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Grandstand: $40 to $72.20. Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Ave., Springfield; www.agr.state.il.us.
7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 20-21: Lawn is sold out, pavilion seats $105-$125. Ravinia, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park; ravinia.org or (847) 266-5100.
If you still haven't gotten your Journey fix, one of Journey's former lead vocalists Steve Augeri will be performing at the Schaumburg Septemberfest. He's coming packing Journey's greatest hits, so be prepared to move on the dance floor. Opening for Augeri are Fran and Anthony Cosmo, the former Boston lead vocalist and guitarist respectively. If you need a little "More Than a Feeling" or "Peace of Mind" in your weekend, you'd best be heading to Schaumburg.
6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1: Free admission. Septemberfest at the Atcher Municipal Center, 101 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg; www.ci.schaumburg.il.us or (847) 923-3636.
My first exposure to Chicago was from my dad's stack of albums and listening to a cassette of 1984's "Chicago 17" on the way home from soccer practice (which is also where I developed my affection for .38 Special, John Cougar and Billy Joel). Admittedly, they weren't officially on my radar until "Glory of Love" rang out over the beach during "Karate Kid 2." The popularity of that song inspired a dive back into the archives.
A band doesn't get to play onstage as long as Chicago has without shuffling a few members around. Chicago's current incarnation will be appearing at Ravinia for two shows at the end of August. Seats are going fast for these shows, so contact the box office as soon as you can.
7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24-25: $105/$90 reserved, $38 ($43 on the day of the show) for lawn. Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park; ravinia.org or (847) 266-5100.