Over the past 28 years, Eleventh Dream Day has consistently made good records, but its latest — Works for Tomorrow — is one of the best. The Chicago band played as a trio for many years, with Rick Rizzo on guitar and vocals, Douglas McCombs on bass and Janet Beveridge Bean on drums and vocals. Several years back, Mark Greenberg joined the lineup on keyboards, and then the band expanded yet again with James Elkington coming in as a second guitarist. The bigger lineup makes Eleventh Dream Day more versatile — and it makes an even bigger noise than before.
Eleventh Dream Day played Saturday night, Sept. 12, at the City Made Fest in Andersonville, focusing heavily on the new songs. The group didn’t even bother to play what may be its most famous song, “Testify.” (Eleventh Dream Day didn’t play it at a recent Hideout show, either.)
The new song “Go Tell It” kicked off with a long searing guitar solo by Elkington. On the chorus — “Go tell it on the mountain!” — Bean’s soulful wails joined together with Rizzo’s voice, sounding a bit like Merry Clayton’s classic duet with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter.” Bean stepped out from behind the drums for the final song of the night, a cover of Judy Henske and Jerry Yester’s “Snowblind” that appears on the new album. She leaned over as she sang, as if she were squeezing every once of her strength into those vocals. As the final notes rang out, she nearly fell off the side of the stage. Decades after starting, Eleventh Dream Day sounds as vital as ever.