June was a good month in Chicago if you happen to be a fan of actor/singer/songwriter Kiefer Sutherland. A couple weeks ago Music Box Theatre showed a rare 70MM print of his 1990 film Flatliners and over the weekend he stopped at Park West to play some songs in support of his latest record, Reckless & Me.
As a longtime fan of his acting, I went to see him perform a couple years ago at Thalia Hall not really sure what to expect. What I got was a night full of stories and songs from his life that were funny and sad and told with a vulnerability that completely made me forget he was a movie star. The same was true on Saturday when he made his return to Chicago with new songs and even more stories.
My favorite, and I don’t think he told this one when I saw him before, was about being inspired to write “I’ll Do Anything” while sitting at home on a Friday night watching Bridget Jones’s Diary.
He doesn’t talk at all about acting, which is kind of interesting. I imagine most of the stories related to that part of his life are so well-documented already that there’s no need to bring them up. And it’s much more impactful to talk about your real life-a friend that passed away, a relationship that didn’t work out, memories of your parents. He hits it all.
The songs sounded really good in the room at Park West. I like it best when he turns up the guitars and gets a little rowdy, so I really enjoyed the performances of “Agave” and the cover of Tom Petty’s “Honeybee.” Sutherland wears his influences on his shoulder and you can tell Petty is a huge one, along with Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.
You can purchase Reckless & Me on CD or vinyl here. It’s also streaming on all digital platforms.