Chicago: United Center

The tour continues tonight with the first of two performances at the absolutely gigantic United Center.

It really is enormous. This behemoth of a building is the largest indoor sports and entertainment arena in the whole of the United States, in fact, covering some 960,000 square feet.

The UC, as it is affectionately known, is home to the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association. Bronze statues of the city’s sporting heroes can be found both in and outside the arena: the Blackhawks’ Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull, and most famously of all, measuring 12 feet and weighing 2,000 pounds, the Bulls’ Michael Jordan immortalised in classic pose.

Best team mascot ever, as well. Benny the Bull. Legend.

From the street and on first impressions, the stadium might look older than it really is, as its exterior is reminiscent of the Art Deco architecture of the 1920s and the stadium it was built to replace. Don’t be fooled: inside it is vast, airy and modern.

Since its opening in 1994, the UC has welcomed over forty million guests through its many doors. This is perhaps not so surprising when you consider that the venue hosts over 200 events annually and is regularly filled to the rafters. Luxurious and spacious, this is another very fan-friendly place to visit and its plush, theatre-style cushioned seating provides an unobstructed view of the action wherever it happens to be and wherever you happen to be sitting.

The UC has hosted UFC Fight Nights, a WWF/WWE SummerSlam and the Stanley Cup Finals three times in the present decade, but aside from the various sporting events, there have also been circuses, naturalisation ceremonies, Disney On Ice and the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

Again, as you’d expect, there have been rock concerts by all the biggest names in music. The first three concerts ever held here, held over a four-day span in October 1994, were by Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and Frank Sinatra. Of course, Ol’ Blue Eyes finished off with ‘My Kind of Town (Chicago Is)’ – how could he not?

For curious foodies, here’s an obligatory link for you; I’m sure we’ll discuss in the chatroom at some point.

For a flavour – no pun intended – of the sights and sounds of this wonderfully all-American modern sporting temple, here’s a time-lapse video showing the routine conversion from ice hockey rink to basketball court. A moment, if you please, to appreciate everybody who regularly toils through the night to make this remarkable transformation possible. (Listen out for that pipe organ. What a classic sound.)

If you’re in the Windy City for tonight’s gig, have a lovely time. We can’t wait to hear all about it.

There are still some tickets available for tonight as well as Friday night, don’t forget. Tell your friends.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

61 thoughts on “Chicago: United Center”

    1. I’m excited for you. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time.

      I don’t know about you, but I really want to see a basketball game there and I don’t even like basketball. The atmosphere looks incredible.

      1. FEd,

        If you’ve never been to one, I believe you would enjoy a hockey game more. It’s kind of like a soccer game in fast motion. Because the players wear substantial padding, bone crushing checks are allowed and surely adds to the entertainment value.

        1. Oh, definitely. It’s brutal. I remember how field hockey can hurt, but on ice…

          I keep meaning to go to a Cardiff Devils game. One of these days for sure.

      2. No doubt about the atmosphere in a Basketball game there or MSG, I don’t like basketball too much neither but I’ll go to see Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors to feel NBA atmosphere.

        1. I’ll go to see Nets-Raptors at Barclay’s center too…
          Let’s keep in touch! πŸ™‚

          1. I’ll be in section 225, so we’re almost near…

            Maybe we can go for a beer during halftime… πŸ™‚

      3. We’re going to take in a Black Hawks game on Thursday on the night off between the Wednesday and Friday gigs. I’m a Canadian and like most Canadians I live for hockey but believe it or not I’m most looking forward to watching the American National Anthem which in this building and the old Chicago Stadium before it is simply legendary as the crowd goes absolutely nuts during it.

        How the National Anthem Turned Into a Blackhawks Rallying Cry

        1. Hi fanofallfive. I hope you enjoyed the game. I was there, too. This regular season, the national anthem seems to have lost some steam as the continued high ticket prices in recent years (due to great success) has kept away a lot of the people that carried this tradition. But it will come back strong during the playoffs.

          In response to the article you posted, I actually have a local news video that shows the anthem from Game 4 of the 1985 playoff series vs Edmonton – one night after the tradition began.

  1. I’m very curious to see the set list. I read in an interview (thx Werner) with David that they rehearsed Louder Than Words and that the experiments aren’t over yet…

    Enjoy the concert all of you who will be there!

    Taki

    PS. 179 days to go, but with all the posts here and Polly’s photos time passes rather joyfully by…

    1. I sure hope that David would play “Louder Than Words”, especially at the Pompeii Concert. Indeed I would like to see David play the not so regular songs. “What Do You Want From Me” is a great addition to the set list. Other songs that I like are “Lost for Words” and “Poles Apart” from the Division Bell Album. They are all gems.

      1. You nailed it, BChau. I love those two songs as well. It seems multiple people have been calling for “Louder Than Words” since it would fit so well with his current setlist. Perhaps we will get lucky when he plays Europe this summer / fall.

  2. Finally after 18 years waiting for this I’ll be there on Friday 8th!

    I feel so so happy specially traveling from Mex to Chicago!

    See you there Mr. Gilmour!

  3. When I watched the NBA finals in the 90’s (maybe it was another stadium) the introduction of the Bulls was really cool. Lights off, lasers and a great music with the speaker introducing the team. Can’t find on YouTube but trust me, it was fantastic!

    If I remember well the music was by Alan Parsons…

    Ciao!

    1. Funnily enough, Emilio, I was watching some videos on YouTube earlier, after reading – and I don’t know if this is true – that they used to play Pink Floyd’s ‘On the Run’ to introduce the visiting team before dimming the lights and flashing the lasers. They now play music from Star Wars.

      The Alan Parsons Project track you’re thinking of is ‘Sirius’.

      1. Yes right! What a piece! I’ve never noticed ‘On the Run’, strange but true. I’m reading on Wikipedia you’re right about this.

        Also, Wikipedia says of Da Bull (another team mascot): ‘The man who portrayed Da Bull was arrested in 2004 for possession and selling marijuana from his car’.

        What a special effect, isn’t it?

        After all this bull talk, I’m listening to Syd’s ‘Maisie’, by the way.

  4. And, not less important, in this city music became history when Muddy Waters and Little Walter turned electric!

    Chess Records, people…a legend…

  5. It’s all very exciting, isn’t it.

    What seems to be emerging on this tour is that

    A) David is unbelievably getting better and better
    B) the band is also on a hot streak
    C) there is life after Rick but his presence is still felt
    D) David, Mark and the technical team seem to be able to tailor the show to the bigger venues without diluting the experience

    Keep those reviews coming people …..

  6. Great reading the excitement in the posts here, this time next week we’ll be heading to the big apple for the last New York show, but a busy week ahead first. Planning on hitting the Village Vanguard for some jazz on the Monday….as a warm up for the main course on Tuesday.

    Enjoy the gigs all those lucky enough to be going.

  7. I’m here in Chicago! I’m so excited for the show tonight! Tonight is the first time my daughter, (whose middle name is Gilmour) will see THE Gilmour. I can’t wait! I’m at all 3 Chicago shows thanks in large part to FEd and those beautiful pre sale codes! Thank you so much again FEd! I’ll let you know how amazing it is/was after the show!

  8. Hello, everyone.

    For those staying in Chicago this week, make sure you try some pizza! My favorites are Giordano’s and/or Pizzeria Due (I like better than Uno even though same owner and one block apart). People also like Al’s Beef or Portillo’s for Italian Beef.

    One more thing, you can visit the lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building for free. Excellent view of downtown Chicago.

    Any other questions about Chicago, let me know as it is my home town.

    1. We are coming from Indy on Friday night, any good places to stay near United Center?

      1. Hi Kev. I’m sorry I did not see your post until just now. Did you find a hotel that you liked?

  9. I think the current setlist is awesome! The more Division Bell the better. Would love to hear Lost For Words. But it is great as is.

    Can’t wait for NYC! Making the trip from Detroit on Monday morning. Anybody that wants to meet up for drinks and or herbs, I am in!!!!!

  10. Well, no changes to the setlist tonight. The songs played were:

    5 A.M.
    Rattle That Lock
    Faces of Stone
    Wish You Were Here
    What Do You Want From Me
    A Boat Lies Waiting
    The Blue
    Money
    Us and Them
    In Any Tongue
    High Hopes

    Astronomy DominΓ©
    Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    Fat Old Sun
    Coming Back To Life
    The Girl In the Yellow Dress
    Today
    Sorrow
    Run Like Hell
    Time
    Breathe (Reprise)
    Comfortably Numb

    1. Hope it will remain the same until 12th…

      “What Do You Want From Me” is one of my favorites and I’ve never heard it live. Pure gold.

  11. Great concert tonight. Dave and crew did not disappoint. Some highlights for me were Fat Old Sun – it seemed like Dave got into it a bit more than I’ve heard live before. Astronomy Domine was also fun to hear him play. Frankly, Money (one of the more over-played pieces in his repertoire) was exciting and sounded very lively. I also appreciated seeing Guy Pratt, Jon Carin and Phil Manzanera in the band.

    Wish I had seen them in LA (with David Crosby) before making the journey to Chicago. I think it would be worth it to seem him multiple times before he heads back over the pond.

  12. Gilmour was pure virtuosity tonight. We got soaring highs, bluesy diddles and seriously bad a$$ fret work. Just a master class in excellence. The crowd spent a lot of time on their feet which was awesome!

  13. It looks like yesterday was the 10th Anniversary of the first DG-Blog planned meet-up prior to the 4/4/2006 show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. I believe it took place at Heartland Brewery a few blocks away.

    Ten years: just a blink of time, yet so much has happened since. So much behind us, still far to go.

  14. Everyone should check out greenstreetmeats.com if you go to the UC. In the same neighborhood, and AMAZING BBQ… And if noodles is your thing, they have a great noodle bar downstairs of that joint.

    DG… Please give us On an Island in NYC… πŸ™

    1. Don’t worry Pavlov ….

      You’ll be thinking “what if it’s all hype, what if I expect too much, what if it doesn’t grab me the same way as everyone else?” – I waited 9 years for my chance, it’s a big build up …

      And then you get there, the lights go down …. and he blows your mind …. guaranteed.

    2. All you can do is try and distract yourself Pavlov, until you get there. πŸ˜‰

      And Tim’s right. πŸ˜€

      1. PAVLOV ! HAVE YOU ANY IDEA WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH ? !

        I looked calm didn’t I, underneath it I’ve got SERIOUS problems planning this Pompeii trip though.

        I have to renew my passport, I have to do it for ID for RAH never mind for travel to Italy. I’ve had four different lots of passport photos taken. I don’t like any of them. πŸ™

        “How do I want to look for the next ten years?”

        “Shall I get my hair cut and more photographs?”

        “Shall I get my hair cut and colour it, then get more photographs?”

        “What if I don’t like those either?”

        And you thought you were freaking out. I won’t be going to any of the concerts if I don’t get the photo and send the forms off !

        πŸ˜€

        1. The only thing I’m freaking out about is that I have only 90 days to wait for the event of my year and as I know what it would be like, I feel how greedy I become, dreaming of a, let’s imagine, an October restart. πŸ˜€

          It’s just a game of imagination – you will understand me I believe. πŸ˜€

  15. Please, Mr.Gilmour! What Do You Want From Me and Louder Than Words in Madison Square Garden!

  16. Show was amazing last night. David is at his strongest this tour! The band is awesome and visuals are excellent! Can’t wait for the next 2!

    Someone tell David that Phil is terrible on WYWH opening riff!!

    1. Phil has his moments on that tune. First night in LA was uneven I thought.

  17. I’m sure all our friends going to the UC will have a great time! Fond memories of seeing shows there about 6 years ago, involving a certain former bandmate of David’s. Nice venue and plenty to do while in Chicago!

    Still absorbing the fact that Circus Maximus is added to the tour. I get the feeling a bunch of old Romans would recognize many of the stops David and Co. are making in Europe. He should do a travel documentary to go along with any concert footage!!

  18. I just had an answer from ‘Rock in Roma’ about age restrictions: there are just numerated seats so every child more than 3 years old needs a ticket so no restrictions πŸ™‚ …..I need a bus. πŸ˜€

  19. Tomorrow I hope to get, first time in my life, first row tickets for all my family…..second or third row it is OK anyway. πŸ˜€

  20. I just saw Polly at her book signing. She is so lovely and gracious with everyone. She remembered me as “The Puppy”. (I’m dying!) She even signed a picture for a couple of irregulars.

    Now to the Auditorium Theater for the show!

  21. Went Monday. My first solo or Floyd show and I am 53. Took my 23 year old son and he was blown away! Amazing stuff. I might go back again Friday! 3 1/2 hour drive but I might just do it again.

  22. I was thinking about these three shows in Chicago, two at United Centre and one in between at the Auditorium.

    David’s crew are unsung heroes throughout the tour. I’m imagining they dismantled the equipment and lighting to take it to the Auditorium then did it all again to return to the United Centre. That got me to thinking about how often they do this during a tour and just how perfect everything always turns out. Three cheers for the crew too ! Hip hip. . .

    ash

    (Of course, David only works with the very best so why would we be surprised? πŸ™‚ )

  23. Tonight is my last show until Pompeii. How does he make a three hour set feel like a few minutes? I’m emotional already. This has been such a fantastic tour filled with magnificent performances. I wish I could stretch this moment into infinity. I’m sure I will hold these six performances as close to my heart as the other five times in my life that I’ve had the privilege of seeing the Floyd.

    Thank you FEd for making the ticket process easy. Thank you Irregulars for welcoming me. Thank you David for thrilling my soul.

  24. The first of the 5 shows I’ll be attending. The sound was amazing for such an acoustically unfriendly building. Gilmour was in fine form – great show!

  25. April 8th. I’ve seen Pink Floyd several times but this is the first time I’ve seen Gilmour just play what he’s thinking. There are little parts of each show that slide out differently and they are pure magic. I’m so grateful, thank you everyone. I am touched and forever changed.

  26. Just returned from several days visiting family and going to see David Gilmour in Chicago. Having grown up there and seen many concerts at the UC, I can honestly say that the sound last night was exceptional for that building. Either I was in a perfect node at club level / mid-court, or David Gilmour’s crew is the best in the business. My group of friends, all from Chicago, thought the same thing.

    FEd, please pass along my thanks if that is possible.

  27. Saw the April 4th concert in Chicago. It was amazing! So glad I splurged and traveled to see it!!

Comments are closed.