'Ode to FitzGerald's'

Updated from July 14, 2004

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Last July, Bill Dwyer took a look at FitzGerald's, the nightclub just across Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. The occasion was a new book, Live From FitzGerald's: Songs and Stories of an American Music Club by writer Dave Whitaker and photographer Blair Jensen.

"Functioning as a musical Wrigley Field, [FitzGerald's] friendly confines routinely morph one night from a Cajun-accented Zydeco joint to a raucous Southwestern country-rock roadhouse the next, then again to a smoky Chicago blues club. The only constant is the quality of the musicianship and the passion the artists and audiences share for it," wrote Dwyer.

This year the club will mark its 25th year, says owner Bill FitzGerald. There will be lots of special events to come.

But first up is New Year's Eve, and like last year, FitzGerald's will be featured on television, part of WLS Channel 7's live broadcast from sites around the Chicago area. "It's an amazing production," says FitzGerald. "There's a huge truck, plus another truck with satellite equipment, a production crew, a stationary camera, a boom camera. They show both film and live, and stay at least two hours, through midnight."

The club has a big night planned. The Marcia Ball Band, a perennial favorite and the first out-of-town act to play FitzGerald's, will be on hand, along with Paul Cebar & the Milwaukeeans in the SideBar. That means continuous music, plus an open bar till 1 a.m., a jambalaya bar, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Make it a night by starting with dinner in the Roosevelt Grill, the club's restaurant right next door.

Details are on FitzGerald's website, www.fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.

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