Old Dominion Ignites Chicago’s Allstate Arena With Sold-Out Show On No Bad Vibes Tour
“We’re here for no other reason than to have a damn good time with some people that we love.”
Old Dominion; Photo by Mason Allen
Old Dominion is no stranger to Chicago, IL’s thriving music scene. Throughout their career, they’ve played on plenty of stages across the city, from smaller venues like Bub City and Joe’s on Weed St. to the Chicago Bears Stadium, Soldier Field. On Friday, November 17, they headed just outside the city to Rosemont where they took over Allstate Arena on their No Bad Vibes Tour.
Taking the stage around 9:15 pm, the five-piece band was welcomed to a room of screaming fans who made it clear that they were ready to sing their hearts out. But before they could begin their 21-song setlist, lead singer Matthew Ramsey stepped up to the mic and laid out their mission for the night ahead.
“Welcome to the No Bad Vibes Tour. I don’t even need to tell you what that means, but just in case there’s somebody out there that needs to know, that means that whatever it is that’s stressing you out, whatever it is that’s bumming you out or pissing you off or keeping you up at night, that sh*t don’t belong in here with us tonight. We got nothing but joy in this room tonight. We’re here for no other reason than to have a damn good time with some people that we love. Are y’all ready?” Ramsey asked in conclusion.
“Sweet” Show Opener
He then counted down his band members and began singing their first song of the night, “Make It Sweet.” From there, Old Dominion continued to transport the sold-out crowd to a place of complete serenity with their breezy tunes, epic guitar solos, and heartfelt stories that gave fans a look into their journey up until this point.
Their career-spanning setlist celebrated each of their five studio albums with tracks including “No Hard Feelings,” “Never Be Sorry,” “Break Up With Him,” “Midnight Mess Around,” “I Should Have Married You,” “One Man Band,” “Written In The Sand” and many more.
The Power Of Music
When they got to the empowering tune, “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart,” Ramsey once again took a moment to speak directly to their fans, reminding them that they brought the music to sing with them, not to them, and encouraged everyone in the room to let their emotions go as they helped deliver this song.
“We all have an opportunity here. It’s the beautiful thing about music, we have an opportunity to make a difference right here because there’s somebody in this crowd that needs to hear this song…And here we are with the opportunity to sing it all together as loud as we can so we make damn sure that the message of this song reaches that person,” Ramsey yelled out to the sea of people who listened and did as they were told, belting out every heartfelt lyric in the song.
Taking Requests Throughout The Night
Despite already having a stacked setlist on this headlining run, the band has also found a way to make each show unique by carving out a moment to take requests from those in the audience. On Saturday evening, Ramsey took note of the posters and song titles held up on phones surrounding the stage, and when the time came, he selected a poster from a nearby fan who had requested “A Million Things,” a track off their latest album, Memory Lane.
As the band scrambled to get the correct instruments tuned and ready to go, Ramsey admitted that they had only played this song live once before. However, from the audience’s perspective, it felt as if they had performed it many times before, seeing as how they were able to jump right in without a hitch.
Their other requests of this particular night included “All I Know About Girls” and “My Heart Is A Bar,” which marked the final delivery before the band’s two-song encore.
After hearing the boot-stomping and hollering that nearly shook the arena, Old Dominion returned to the stage in beachwear. Ramsey sported a hot pink button-up shirt accessorized with handfuls of leis that he handed out to the crowd while singing the tropical anthem, “Hawaii.”
Then, bringing things to an official close, each band member made their way to the end of the stage with their respective instruments and shut things down with the warm-weather tune that fans had been craving all night long, “I Was On A Boat That Day.”
Spirits were the highest they had been as the crowd jumped out of their seats and let their worries go alongside the community of country fans around them. Within just the first 30 minutes of the nearly two-hour show, Ramsey revealed that Chicago might just be one of the loudest crowds they’ve experienced on the tour yet. Based on the volume level in the packed-out arena with this upbeat track alone, it’s safe to say the Windy City lived up to their expectations.
“This has been such a beautiful night for us, I can’t tell you,” Ramsey began in his final speech of the night. He went on to reminisce about their experience in Chicago over the years, and how far they have come since their first-ever sold-out show at Joe’s On Weed St.
Celebrating The Band’s Longstanding History With Chicago
“It’s been a continuing theme that Chicago is someplace that we know we can go and feel how much love is here and feel the connection that we have,” he continued. “There’s no doubt about it, we know when we play in Chicago that it’s going to be a good show…if you can’t tell how happy we are and how much we love our jobs, we are the luckiest guys you will ever meet because we are friends first and we get to come out here and play the music that we love. Not only that, we get to see firsthand how you make our music a part of your lives and that is a dream bigger than we could have ever dreamed when we were little kids. So, thank you so much for being here,” Ramsey added with the utmost gratitude and appreciation.
Just to make sure they don’t forget this memorable night, Old Dominion told the audience to “lose your minds” as they helped sing the final chorus of the night. Once again, they happily compiled, and continued to sing and dance their way into the parking lot of the arena, signaling a successful night for Old Dominion.
The extended leg of the No Bad Vibes Tour kicked off September 7 and features over 30 additional arenas nationwide with support from Kylie Morgan and Chase Rice who also appeared in Rosemont, IL on Friday night.
Old Dominion will make their way to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and more before wrapping up their run of U.S. dates at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on December 15. For a full list of upcoming shows, visit the band’s official website HERE.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.