As rock legends took over Soldier Field, young and old alike were too excited to worry about temperatures in low 40s
On Wednesday night's triple bill at Soldier Field: The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello and an unexpected special guest, Old Man Winter.
But the knife-edged, chilling wind and occasional droplets of rain didn't keep away throngs of music fans, who were piling into the stadium hours before opener Costello's first chord. Bundled into layers of Rolling Stones gear, some sipping warm — or warming — beverages, first-timers and veterans of all ages seemed oblivious to the weather as they strode through the gates.
Temperatures plummeted into the low 40s as the sun set. But Rich Kaczmarek, 41, of New Lenox said it wouldn't slow him, and certainly not "the greatest rock `n' roll band in the world."
"You just dress warmly," said Kaczmarek, who was with his wife Karen, 41. "Once people are dancing and having fun, it's nice.... [Mick Jagger is] a great showman. It doesn't matter if it's raining or cold."
Nearby, waiting for his father with his brother and mother, stood Jamie Porter, 11, attending his first concert. Clad in a jacket, hooded sweatshirt, jeans and a Rolling Stones knit cap, he watched his brother Matt, 16, play hacky sack and said he was excited "just to see `em."
"Their dad is a huge Stones fan" who saw his first show at age 14, said the boys' mother Kelly, 45.
He was worried that the band, which started in the early 1960s in London, might not be around much longer. "That's why my husband insisted that (the boys) come. They might break up. Or worse," she said.
Matt Porter — whose ensemble included a Stones T-shirt and boxer shorts, a Doors hoodie and winter coat — said he wasn't worried about watching from inside the chilly, exposed stadium.
"It's a better experience," he said. "You appreciate the music more."
Bill Sincere, 49, of Theresa, Wis., and his son-in-law Steve Froelich, 37, of West Bend, Wis., probably wouldn't have been cold wherever they set up shop.
After parking their mini-van, they fired up a generator, opened the tailgate, strung up Rolling Stones-themed Christmas lights, got the disco ball twirling and blasted Stones classics from a full-sized stereo they brought with them.
On Wednesday, they lucked out, scoring a parking space inside Soldier Field's heated garage. Shouting over Keith Richards' jangling guitar, Sincere explained that neither he nor Froelich were worried about what they'd experience when they ventured outside. The two have been seeing shows together for more than a decade.
"I've got videos where they play in the rain," Sincere said. "If they're willing to play, I'm willing to listen."