Tommy Emmanuel – Force Of Nature

The force of nature that is Tommy Emmanuel hit the Chicago area this past week.  The Elgin Community College Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre and Chicago’s Park West were the touchdown sites for the legendary Certified Guitar Player.  We’ve been fortunate enough to have a long running friendship with Tommy and, having been tapped to introduce him at both venues, we were “up close and personal” for both of these touchdowns, so we thought we’d share a little of what we saw on stage, back stage and away from the stage .

The storms that proceeded Tommy’s Elgin appearance, Wed. night, were only a warm up to the on stage explosion that was created by Tommy and his “white man’s thunderstick” at the, appropriately named, Blizzard Theatre.  We lost track of the number of standing ovations Tommy received, but it was obvious that the audience in this beautiful venue was completely under his spell.  It was also obvious that, even after a long drive from his previous night’s show, Tommy’s energy level was still at 110%!!  As a cardiologist friend of ours once remarked, “Just watching Tommy perform is a great cardiac workout for the audience.”

Thursday afternoon we had the chance to celebrate Tommy’s marriage to Clara Rolls.  It was their 2 week anniversary and, since they had a little down time, we took them up to the Signature Room at the 95th.

Clara and Tommy Emmanuel at the Signature Room

Clara and Tommy Emmanuel at the Signature Room

A very talented guitarist/composer/photographer in her own right, Clara is also Associate Producer and responsible for the visual imagery on Tommy’s new CD/DVD but, more importantly, she’s a pretty special lady who is an absolute delight.  As Steve told Tommy, “You did the same thing I did.  You married UP.”

Thursday night, before his performance at the Park West, Tommy took a little time to sit down with us for an interview.

After our backstage conversation with Tommy he met with several fans before his show.  Then, it was on stage for, again, more standing ovations than we could count.  We’re not sure but, we think, the Park West may still be vibrating from the sounds of that “white man’s thunderstick.”

When the show was over we had the chance for a little more conversation and many hugs.

Tommy & Clara Emmanuel with Steve & Johnnie

Tommy & Clara Emmanuel with Steve & Johnnie

However, much too soon, it was time to say goodbye to a dear friend and his new bride.

Hopefully, we will see this force of nature touch down in this area again soon.  If you’re VERY lucky, your area will be next.

BTW, in case you’d like to get a copy of the new CD/DVD Tommy talks about in the interview, “Live and Solo in Pensacola,” here is a link to all you need to know.

Steve & Johnnie

About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
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3 Responses to Tommy Emmanuel – Force Of Nature

  1. C.W. says:

    ….sometimes there aren’t simple words to explain the WONDERFUL in our world…. and this is one of those times.
    Loving Regards,

  2. How wonderful that Tommy has shared his talent in this area. I became his fan due to your show. Elgin is a town with a long history of love and support of music.
    Grew up there and did PR for ECC long ago.Post WWII ECC was U of I. extension,Public Schools took it over until the state jr. colleges approved. A long history of excellence there-now enhanced by Tommy E. and you too….GLM

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