Cloud Gate and Chicago’s 40th Anniversary Soul Train Concert at Millennium Park on Labor Day

Soul Train

Image via Wikipedia

Cloud Gate is a Height: 13.4 metres (44 ft) public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, that is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).

Kapoor’s design was inspired by liquid mercury and the sculpture’s surface reflects and distorts the city’s skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate’s 12-foot (3.7 m) high arch. On the underside is the “omphalos” (Greek for “navel”), a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor’s artistic themes, and it is popular with tourists as a photo-taking opportunity for its unique reflective properties.

The sculpture was the result of a design competition. After Kapoor’s design was chosen, numerous technological concerns regarding the design’s construction and assembly arose, in addition to concerns regarding the sculpture’s upkeep and maintenance. Various experts were consulted, some of whom believed the design could not be implemented. Eventually, a feasible method was found, but the sculpture’s construction fell behind schedule. It was unveiled in an incomplete form during the Millennium Park grand opening celebration in 2004, before being concealed again while it was completed. Cloud Gate was formally dedicated on May 15, 2006, and has since gained considerable popularity, both domestically and internationally.


A large white tent sits on the roof of a cafe building set in front of a skyscraper and blue sky.

A tent was erected to cover Cloud Gate while it was being polished in 2004 and 2005.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley declared the day of the sculpture’s dedication, May 15, 2006, to be “Cloud Gate Day”. Kapoor attended the celebration, while local jazz trumpeter and bandleader Orbert Davis and the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic played “Fanfare for Cloud Gate”, which Davis composed.[43] The public took an instant liking to the sculpture, affectionately referring to it as “The Bean”.[44] Cloud Gate has become a popular piece of public art[8][45] and is now a fixture on many souvenirs such as postcards, sweatshirts, and posters.[46] The sculpture has attracted a large number of locals, tourists, and art aficionados from around the world.[47] The sculpture is now the piece by which Kapoor is most identified in the United States.[48]

Time describes the piece as an essential photo opportunity, and more of a destination than a work of art.[8]The New York Times writes that it is both a “tourist magnet” and an “extraordinary art object”,[47][49] while USA Today refers to the sculpture as a monumental abstract work.[50] Chicago art critic Edward Lifson considers Cloud Gate to be among the greatest pieces of public art in the world.[43] The American Welding Society recognized Cloud Gate, MTH Industries and PSI with the group’s Extraordinary Welding Award.[51] Time named Millennium Park one of the ten best architectural achievements of 2004, citing Cloud Gate as one of the park’s major attractions.[52]

The Chicago-based legendary Soul Train television show had an anniversary concert on Labor Day in Chicago at Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago with more than 20,000 attendees.

Soul Train 40th Anniversary In Chicago

Don Cornelius, the founder and host of the former nationally syndicated show was the honored guest. He is a Chicago native and started the show in Chicago.

Watch some Soul Train videos to get you in the groove for what the concert was like We listened to the classic sounds of legendary R & B soul artists like Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, The Impressions and the Emotions. The “Vino con Vista” concert started at 6:30 at the Pritzker Pavillion. Many loyal Soul Train fans waited in line for hours to get a seat in front of the stage. Others sat in their lawn chairs eating snacks and drinking wine as they gazed at the gorgeous Chicago Skyline.

Chicago Skyline

The festivities started with a pre-concert Dance Party at  Cloud Gate  on Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade from 4-5:30 p.m hosted by Herb Kent. The “King of the Dusties”  was spinning  hit records from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Admission to both the concert and the dance party were FREE. The dancers could see their reflection in the “Bean”.

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park in Chicago

On Sunday, Don Cornelius was available for questions following the screening of “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America” at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The Soul Train Photo Exhibition, which includes more than 55 rare photographs from the show’s stage, has been extended through Oct. 2. Mr. Cornelius was awarded an Honorary Street Sign at the Corner of Halsted and Madison.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @

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Filed under Attractions in Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Architecture, Chicago Concerts at Millennium Park, Chicago Jazz Festival 2011, Chicago Street Fairs, Chicago Street Festivals, Soul Train Concert in Chicago on Labor Day

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