You’ve seen concerts at the United Center and the Allstate Arena, at Metro and the Riviera Theatre. But have you ever seen a band play in a Chicago train station?
About 1,800 Chicagoans did Thursday — for free.
Maroon 5 and “Love Song” singer Sara Bareilles performed in Union Station’s Great Hall to promote the launch of gaming giant Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s “Escape to Total Rewards” members program. The show also included a live feed from the three other Total Rewards shows taking place simultaneously in Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans, giving the event a New Year’s Eve-like feel.
Playing the role of Dick Clark at the Chicago party were “E! News” co-host Giuliana Rancic and husband and former “Apprentice” winner Bill Rancic. The couple, which promoted its newly opened RPM Italian restaurant on ABC’s “Windy City Live” earlier that morning and OWN’s “The Rosie Show” in the evening, greeted the crowd and introduced both acts. Rosie O’Donnell was also in attendance but kept to the VIP section.
“Right now we’re living downtown in (River North),” Rancic told me in the green room of “Windy City Live” earlier that day. “We’re looking for a place. … I’ve been coming (to Chicago) once a month, but I’ll be coming more often now that awards season is over.”
The piano-playing Bareilles opened for Maroon 5 with a six-song set, including a cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” Afterward, guests turned their attention to the big screen above the stage to watch performances from Lil Wayne, Mariah Carey, Diddy and Gavin DeGraw. Adam Levine and his Maroon 5 bandmates took the stage after that. The band has been on a roll lately, playing the Grammys, “Saturday Night Live” and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in the last few months, not to mention the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl after-party.
Yes, the same party where the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski sparked controversy by dancing after his team’s loss.
“That happened later, during LMFAO’s set,” Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine told me over the phone Wednesday, ashamed that his band didn’t elicit the same reaction from the Pro Bowl tight end. “That’s (LMFAO’s) specialty. We need to look into what we did wrong and might need to take a look at our party-rocking skills.”
Maroon 5 opened its set Thursday with its most recent hit, “Moves Like Jagger,” rather than predictably ending with it. (The guys closed with “She Will Be Loved” instead.) Valentine said having another hit song such as “Jagger” nine years after the band’s 2002 debut album, “Songs About Jane,” has kept the band motivated, and the hope is to release its next album this summer.
“It helps immensely,” Valentine said of the song. “We’ve been around such a long time. It’s been interesting to see the ebbs and flows. It’s been inspiring lately. It’s like we’re going through (becoming popular) again, but experiencing it on a larger scale. … I think there will be a couple more albums. Nobody has any plans of stopping.”