Naper Nights, presented by Sikich, a community concert series by BMO Harris Bank, features the classic rock of the past four decades when cover band ARRA and opening act Downpour, an AC/DC tribute band, perform Friday, Aug. 24.
Al Stewart, legendary singer/songwriter, along with opening act Dave Nachmanoff, perform Saturday, Aug. 25.
Naper Nights again will be held at Naper Settlement, Chicagoland’s outdoor history museum, 523 S. Webster St.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair for this opportunity to enjoy music under the stars. Naper Nights hours are 5-10 p.m. Friday night tickets are $10 adults, $5 youth (4-12); Saturday night tickets are $15 adults, $10 youth (4-12).
Admission is free for Naperville Heritage Society members. No outside beverages are allowed. No advance ticket discount. All proceeds benefit the Naperville Heritage Society. For additional details, call (630) 420-6010 or visit www.napersettlement.museum.
ARRA was formed 22 years ago by six local musicians who had previously played in other bands.
“We formed the band to be the best cover band we could be,” said Kevin Conner, one of ARRA’s founding members and the lead guitarist. “We all felt the musicians joining it were the best and we enjoy playing together.”
Conner said although everyone in the band has a day job, they have an impressive performing schedule of 78 to 80 shows per year with 38 of them from June through September as part of their diverse summer concert calendar. What will concert-goers hear at Naper Settlement?
“They’re going to hear Bon Jovi, Rush, Boston, Kansas, Styx, Van Halen, Survivor and a bunch of the other greatest classic rock bands of all times big hits,” he said. “Every week, we have a lot of fun.”
Conner’s favorite song to play is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. “Everyone loves it and it always lights up the crowd,” he said.
One of the legendary performers of the 1970s, Al Stewart, who recorded the multi-million-selling hits, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages,” will perform an acoustic set with singer/songwriter Dave Nachmanoff.
Although in the U.S. he became famous for his songs that reached the top of the Billboard charts, Stewart was recording in the 1960s as part of the London folk scene. His first album, “Bedsitter Images,” was recorded in 1967.
Like many teens growing up in the 1950s, he was influenced by the American sounds of Duane Eddy and Elvis Presley and was one of the hundreds of 13- and 14-year-olds all over Britain who picked up a guitar around the same time. He said a great many of those musicians, like Paul McCartney and John Lennon, ended up in the British invasion bands.
Stewart is not only a songwriter; he’s also a historian who meticulously researches the background information for his songs. “Roads to Moscow,” written about the German invasion of Russia during World War II, took two years of study.
What is his favorite historical period?
“If I could wave a magic wand, I would have wanted to live in the time when rock and roll was new and the world appeared to be changing,” he said. “That’s exactly when I was young. I’ve lived my life in the only period in British history when there hasn’t been a major war.”
What can the Naper Nights audience expect during the concert? Stewart said he has recorded about 20 albums and each live performance is different.
“We vary it every night,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to play until about five minutes before we go on, except for some obvious ones.”
Naper Settlement expresses appreciation to its long list of sponsors for Naper Nights. This project is partially funded by a grant from the City of Naperville.