Perhaps a month or so ago, I received an inquiry an inquiry from my friend Lucy, who is the director of social media for Hilton Hotels. It started of with a, “Hi, [INSERT REAL NAME HERE]” A simply reply back, “Hi, Lucy. What’s up?” To make a short story shorter, Lucy wanted to know how easy it was for me to get to Chicago. Given I am just a wee six hours away, I said it is easy to get there. Lucy wanted to know if I was interested in attending a private Meghan Trainor concert as part of the Hilton at Play concert series. I am “all about the bass” so I thought this would be a great way to spend a weekend in Chicago with my family; especially given that my eldest lad will be heading off to college in a mere five weeks.

Then late last week, Meghan Trainor announced via Instagram that she had to cancel a couple of concerts due to a vocal cord hemorrhage. As I sat with pins and needles wondering if Meghan would be able to play, on Thursday Hilton sent out a tweet indicating that the artists for the Hilton at Play Chicago concert were now Sydney Sierota and Andy Grammer. At first blush, I knew the names, but had to go to The Google to find out a little more about the artists. Once I went to The Google, I knew exactly who both of these artists were. Sydney is the lead singer of the great band Echosmith, which they were voted as one of MTV’s 2014 artists to watch for their song “Cool Kids.” To be quite honest, I’m really bad at remembering lead singers’ names from bands, but Andy Grammer I certainly knew because now his hit, “Honey, I’m Good” is playing on all of my favorite top-40 music stations.

So we packed up The Product Poet family and headed east to Chicago on Friday morning to attend the Hilton At Play concert. After the last hour or gut wrenching Chicago traffic, we finally arrived to The Palmer House around 4:30pm and headed out for a quick bite to eat. When ever I am in Chicago, I love to try some Indian food, but instead of heading over to Devon Street, we found a great, “Chipotle-esque” quick serve Indian restaurant called Naansense (hint: I’ll write about that more later). We also found a great place to grab dessert in the Crepe Bistro and Martini Bar. Wow, this was turning about to be a great day so far. We arrived back to The Palmer House and got ready for a fun Hilton At Play night with Sydney Sierota and Andy Grammer. Here are a few pictures of the lobby of The Palmer House, which in-and-of itself is a historic hotel.

The Hilton At Play concert was held on the fourth floor of The Palmer House in their ballroom. After a quick check in and a few red carpet pictures of the family, we were into the pre-concert ballroom for some hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, around 8pm the black curtain was peeled back to show a quaint stage where for the next hour-and-a-half all the Hilton At Play guests would be entertained, first by an acoustic set by Sydney Sierota, the lead singer for Echosmith, and then by Andy Grammer with his whole band.

Once Syndey Sierota came on stage, I noticed a keen resemblance to Anna Kendrick. They could for sure be doppelgänger, but then I realized that here Syndey was in Chicago, performing with her dad, Papa Echosmith, with him on a guitar and her on a tambourine, that Sydney was just two-and-a-half months older than my eldest lad. This was pretty darn cool to hear a great performance in such an intimate setting. By eyeballing the crowd, I would estimate there were less than 500 people in attendance. Many in the audience were screaming for Sydney to do Echosmiths’ hit song, “Cool Kids,” which she was certainly going to oblige, but that would be the last song that she would be performing for Hilton At Play.

After three or so songs, Sydney Sierota then gave the audience a special treat. She performed Echosmiths’ new single, “Let’s Love” before Jimmy Fallon (tomorrow night) and The Today Show (Tuesday). While I wasn’t allowed to Periscope or Meerkat this live performance, I was able to shoot video and take pictures, so you can find the video on my Facebook page here:

Here is the Echosmith’s new single Let’s Love performed live at Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ #HiltonAtPlay concert in Chicago.

Posted by The Product Poet on Friday, July 10, 2015

There is no debate, this song is great. As promised, Sydney performed “Cool Kids” but before she began to sing, she can a very touching and sweet monologue about how the song was wrote and how each of us is quirky in our own way, yet “Cool Kids” is about each and everyone of us. She reminded us that we shouldn’t necessarily be emulating those “stars” we see on the Internet and try to be something that we are not…just be yourself. I can honestly say this resonating with me and for one night I did feel like one of the cool kids, but not for being invited to this event, but for being there with my family and enjoying their company.

Sydney Sierota is a great on-stage performer and we really enjoyed her acoustic set performed with her Dad. After about a 15 minute break, Andy Grammer and his whole band came out to begin their performance. Given that this was a full band, as compared to the acoustic set by Sydney Sierota, the atmosphere was much more lively and energetic, but equally impressive as Sydney Sierota. As Andy Grammer performed we kept on saying, “Oh, I didn’t realize this was his song or we love this song.” I guess I need to do a little more brushing up on the performers the next time that I am attending one of these events; then again the last concert I was at was the Black Eyed Peas concert three or so years ago. I’m more of an avid listener as compared to an avid concert goer.

The next thing you knew it, the Hilton At Play concert was over and we headed up to our room. We were all exhausted, our ears were ringing, but we all said we had such an enjoyable night. I just hope that my lads remember this evening for many years to come. Not just for the awesome music, but for the opportunity that we had to spend such an incredible eventing – and an incredible weekend – together as a family.

Lastly, you too can enjoy an incredible Hilton At Play experience like myself, which is easy to do. Simply visit the Hilton Honors Auction site here, where you can redeem your Hilton Honors points for a wide variety of events, such as private concerts like the one I attended, to sporting and cultural events. Without a doubt, you need to check it out and perhaps one day like me, you’ll be able to take your Hilton red carpet selfie.