The Miller Caves are no stranger to activity. Be it tour traffic, beer dinners or something else, there is always a steady flow of action moving in and out of the historic relic. Last Sunday, however, these caves were alive with activity on an otherwise quiet Father’s Day evening. Our team was focused as we readied the space for a Concert in the Caves featuring John Reilly and Friends. The first of its kind, this concert sold out in minutes and brewed up excitement throughout Milwaukee and in the music world.
We prepped the Champagne Room upstairs in the Miller Inn with essentials for the band. Like beer and food … and more beer. What else does a band really need, anyway? Well, with a little help we must have been pretty close to getting it “right.” No late pizza runs and there was fresh, cold beer in every direction. Literally.
Concert-goers lined up at the door in anticipation of the band’s arrival. The first of two concerts started an hour late but it seemed to be worth the wait. This was a historic night as (after much debate and a multitude of last-minute changes) the band entered and left through the same door as their fans. It was an intimate, shoulder-to-shoulder affair as every ticket was VIP-worthy. Everyone held their breath a bit when the band began to play during that first set. Would there be an echo? Would the caves enhance or bury the sound? A collective exhale was nearly audible as the music started to flow through the caves. The sound was great.
“Frederick J. Miller’s Ghost” thanked people for visiting his famous caves as everyone raised a glass high to toast the city he called home. John C. Reilly himself cracked “Miller” jokes between songs, even alluding to the fact that “Frederick C. Miller’s last meal occurred in the caves and then he died. But don’t worry,” he joked. “They cleaned up the meal.” Close enough.
After a few stressful weeks of planning and a long day of preparation, the night seemed complete when John paused and said with a smile, “Everything gets simpler with beer.” Glasses raised again, cheers were shared and not one person in that room disagreed.
Photography by: CJ Foeckler.