Koko Chicago


Lord, I want some of what this 76-year-old woman has got.

My husband and I went for a stroll on what felt like the last gorgeous Saturday night of summer. We wandered into a wine festival on Wells Street where they told us that Koko Taylor, aka Queen of the Blues, would play before the night was through. A few hours and a few plastic cups of mediocre wine later, we saw her appear on stage in a funky purple ribbon dress. She wore sunglasses and hobbled just a little bit.

“I’m going to sing,” she told us, “so if you hear I’m playing in Europe, you’re gonna want to come.” And she did. She belted it. We were dancing and wang dang doodlin all over Wells Street (so to speak). I never saw a happier crowd the whole summer. It was like we realized it might be the season’s wrap party.

I can’t believe I’ve been in this town almost twenty years and never got my sorry ass to one of her shows before last night. And, I know, she plays all the time. I realize that. I just think because she’s so ubiquitous, I assumed she’d always be there and I went and did something else. But, 76 is, you know, 76. You can’t take Koko for granted anymore, that’s for sure.

(Opening comment overheard made by dude trying to chat up two women: “Koko has the sweetest mullet I’ve ever seen.”)

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