Classic rock lovers of the 1970s and ’80s will have a lot to celebrate when Jim Peterik and the Ides of March shake down the house at a benefit concert for the Theatre of Western Springs on Nov. 2.
The band members will perform their classics ranging from the 1970 chart-topper “Vehicle” to the 1982 smash hit “Eye of the Tiger.”
The evening is billed as “An Intimate Evening with Jim Peterik and the Ides of March,” with seating topping off at around 410.
“Peterik has a huge following,” said Jennifer Jarmano Miller, the chairwoman of the board of TWS as well as the chairwoman of this event. “He came last year and we all had such a great time that this year he suggested doing an Ides concert.”
Peterik had fans dancing in the aisles and graciously stayed for more than two hours after the show signing autographs and talking to fans. This year he’s bringing all his bandmates.
The Ides of March formed in 1965 in Berwyn when six friends at Morton West High School, who had been friends since grade school, formed a band. They soon went from playing teen clubs to touring America and Canada during summer vacations.
Their hit song, “Vehicle” became the fastest breaking single in Warner Bros history. Peterik wrote and sang lead vocals and the song became an anthem of the 1970s.
The group toured with bands such as Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. They dismantled in 1973 after four albums. Peterik went on to co-found the group Surivivor where he wrote and performed numerous hits, including “Eye of the Tiger.” He also penned songs for other major groups, including .38 Special.
After Survivor disbanded, the Ides reunited in 1990 with original band members Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Bob Bergland, Mike Borch, Chuck Soumar and John Larson joined by Scott May and Dave Stahlberg. Their fans today range from original followers to teenagers.
“Last year we had people come from all over—from as far as Wisconsin and Michigan,” said Bill Hammack, managing director for TWS. “Many are boomers who remember him from their younger days, but a lot are younger folks too.”
The concert is part of a fundraising performance series and is the first one of the 2013-14 season. As such, ticket prices are low for a band of this stature, only $35 for TWS subscribers and $40 for nonsubscribers.
“The concert series is doing really well for us,” said Miller. “It brings more people to the theater, people who don’t necessarily go to see plays, but it allows them to see our space. It helps us connect to more of the community.”
And Peterik is happy to help out. The purple-haired rocker lives in the area and is often spotted in neighboring communities. He is passionate about not only sharing his love of music but encouraging and mentoring up-and-coming musicians.
“He has great energy and you never know what you’re going to get,” Miller said. “We just put the performers on the stage; they take it from there.”
‘An Intimate Evening with Jim Peterik and the Ides of March’
8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2
Theatre of Western Springs, 4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs
$35 subscribers, $40 nonsubscribers
(708) 246-3380; www.theatreofwesternsprings.com