Chicago the band plays in Panama City

Saturday In The Park…the piano intro.

You are hearing it now I bet, Robert Lamm banging on the piano like it said something about his mother.

25 or 6 to 4…the bass and horns playing the descending riff and the driving beat making you forget to ask what the hell the song is about anyway.

If You Leave Me Now…Peter Cetera’s plaintive Woah OH OHHH’s pleading for his love to PLEASE don’t go!

Five number one albums, 21 top ten singles, 45 years together playing music that not only defined the 1970s but has been the soundtrack of our lives through the 80s, 90s, and today.

This year they release album XXXVI. (If you’re a Chicago fan, you get it.) That’s 36 for the uninitiated.

Can you believe these guys aren’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

What? You say they aren’t Rock and Roll?

Are you freaking kidding me?

Chicago plays in Panama CityTerry Kath could absolutely shred a guitar. Hendrix said so, supposedly. Pull up Spotify and listen to “Chicago Presents the Innovative Guitar of Terry Kath.” Or just go pull up some YouTube vids of the guy. He’s there, but the vids are old and grainy since the man died in 1978.

He was amazing. And he shaped the early sound of band and was there for the myriad of hits they had through the 70s.  After his death the band plowed on. With Kath’s raging guitar and soulful baritone voice gone they admittedly lost some of their edge.

The crazy thing is that Chicago’s hugest hits came during their mellower era.

Full disclosure: I adore Chicago and consider them one of my favorite bands since stealing Chicago V from my sister’s collection and jamming on air guitar, air horn, and real loud vocals (always with Cetera’s high harmony) to Dialogue (Parts 1 and 2).

I wasn’t always a fan of the softer side of the band, but I have come to appreciate it. I can think of no other band to have been through what they have been through and to have stayed together making music, fantastic music, for so long without something incredibly magical happening.

Really, what are those goobers at the R&R HOF thinking?

The personnel of the band have changed and at this point in time there are four original members still with the band. That’s right, after over 45 years four of the original members are STILL playing.
Robert Lamm, who I consider the heart of the band, is still banging on the keys, guitar, writing and singing. And then of all crazy things, after 45 years, the horn section is as it was from the beginning. Those incredible horns that define the band and an ere are together as one. As they should be.

It was saxophonist Walter Parazaider who, after hearing the Beatle’s “Got to Get You Into My Life,” pined to start a rock and roll band with horns. He recruited friends Terry Kath and original drummer Danny Seraphane to give it a shot. Another friend, trumpeter Lee Loughnane (pronounced LOCK-nane) was recruited along with trombonist Jimmy Pankow and the trio of horn gods was created.

These three guys are the unsung heroes of rock. In previous lives they had to have been the royal musicians for King Solomon, Amenhotep III and Alexander the Great. The power in their horns is huge and blend is perfect. If you can’t get jacked up listening to these guys blast it on Feelin’ Stronger Every Day, Make Me Smile, or Listen…they you’re dead. The duel between Pankow and Loughnane at the end of the song Beginnings give me chills to this very day whenever I listen to it.

I cannot wait to see them.

Did I mention they are playing the Marina Civic Center in Panama City on Saturday, October 5?

They are, and since, unbelievably, I have never seen them, I will be there feeling like Amenhotep and rocking like Alexander the Great.

Who needs those hall of fame jokers anyway when you’re already royalty.

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