Last night Old 97’s steamrolled over the audience with a picture perfect performance of Champaign, IL, proving to the nation why they are the best live band around. Here they are in a post-show photo op with fellow guests David Spade and Christine O’Donnell. Way to go, guys.


  1. Not the song I would have selected, but it still made me smile:)

  2. Awesome can’t wait to here more of the new songs live

  3. So how did this song Champaign, Illinois come about? I am from there myself.

  4. Hey Mike-
    According to the story I heard, in leaner years long ago, driving their van on a dark road in the middle of the night, Rhett wrote his own lyrics to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row in an attempt to keep himself awake while his band mates slept. I don’t miss the harmonica one bit, do you? Although it might be fun to see if he could play one. Ha Ha!

    Anyway, here’s the answer straight from the horse’s mouth, or in this case Rhett’s twitter feed:

    “In the early days of the 97′s, there was a great (short-lived) radio station in Champaign that played us a lot and hired us to come play. We had so much fun in this kooky little college town. Champaign is the ultimate college town. Late nights, sleeping on people’s floors…

    One late night, I was driving the van through Illinois as my band mates slept and to keep myself awake, I wrote this lyric about Champaign. To me, college seemed like some sort of holding pattern… Waiting for life to start. So Champaign became purgatory in the song. Not hell.

    I could have used Austin, Madison or New Paltz, NY. But their names aren’t homonyms for sparkling wine. I love you, Champaign, Illinois.”

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