“I’d like to dedicate this to Stacy,” says local guitarist Eric Mantel, before his first song, a nine-minute prog-rock jam that allows two camera crews to storm the stage. This is hour one of eight of this Stacy Peterson benefit concert, a fundraiser dedicated to raising money to pay for continued search efforts of the Bolingbrook mother who’s been missing since October. At least that’s the official statement; judging by the piñata with Drew Peterson’s picture plastered over its face and the homemade “Who ya gonna call? Drewbusters!” sign, this could have easily been named the “Drew Peterson can go to hell” benefit concert.
On a Sunday afternoon at 115 Bourbon Street restaurant in Merrionette Park, hundreds of friends, family, well-wishers and media outlets assemble to show their support and partake in the complimentary buffet. There are plenty of good intentions ostensibly evident, with several local domestic-abuse organizations setting up shop to distribute pamphlets. However, there’s at least a shred of irony in holding a concert for respecting women in a Mardi Gras-themed restaurant. Avon, the “company for women,” has a prominent space and a company representative across from the “PMSing and loving it!” sign to show off its beauty products. Admittedly, a decent majority of attendees are women; some of them wearing Stacy Peterson “missing person” t-shirts introduce themselves to one another, having first met on the findstacypeterson.com message boards. Equally as prevalent are television camera crews, getting shot after magnificent shot of hundreds of people sitting around drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade and eating fried chicken.
“This is for, uh, this is…” says Mantel, trailing off as he probably realizes dedicating every song to Stacy is a little repetitive. (Andy Seifert)