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Mavis Staples’s 75th Birthday Party is Basically One Giant Music Festival

The lifelong Chicagoan celebrates 75 years of gospel with a star-studded lineup at the Auditorium Theatre next week.

Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

Mavis Staples has been alive for 75 years, and for most of them, she’s been singing—so it makes sense that the gospel legend and lifelong Chicagoan will celebrate her dodranscentennial with a concert. On November 19, Staples will join roughly two dozen esteemed musicians at the Auditorium Theatre to toast her near seven–decade career, which began in the 1940s with family band the Staples Singers.

The show is being billed as a birthday party—albeit one four months late—but given the lineup, it’s more a tour de force. Among the cast joining Staples are far-flung icons (Bonnie Raitt, Gregg Allman, Taj Mahal, Emmylou Harris, Keb’ Mo’, Aaron Neville, Patty Griffin), fellow Chicagoans (Otis Clay, Jeff Tweedy), and a new generation of rock, folk, and country stars (Grace Potter, Ryan Bingham, and two members of Arcade Fire).

As for what that will look like on stage, music director Don Was has kept things fairly under-wraps, but expect plenty of collaborative riffing on Staples songs—some with the singer, some without. Check out the entire lineup here, and pick up tickets here.

Go: Wednesday, November 19 at 7:30. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress. $75-250.

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