Wicomico Youth & Civic Center
Salisbury, Md. • Saturday, October 17, 2015
With the coldest air of the season so far and almost all outside establishments about closed this time of year, I had no problem deciding where to go to beat Mother Nature’s chilly evening temps - the warm WYCC for the Chicago concert. As I got into the venue I was surprised that they had draped off the second level of seats on the sides but had the second level in the rear open. This band deserved to sell out this small venue but then again, I'm sure there was a reason. All of the seats, however, were filled except a few scattered in the back. As the band took the stage at 8pm sharp, they opened with "Introduction" and "Questions 67 & 68", two songs they always open with as a tribute to one of their founding members, Terry Kath, who passed away in 1978. These two songs were from their very first album in 1969, The Chicago Transit Authority, before shortening their name to Chicago for their 2nd album. Their stage was quite impressive with three video screens at the back of the stage, one big in the middle that frequently sported the Chicago logo and other color schemes and video clips, and two smaller ones on both sides that sported just the color schemes.
Chicago included original members Robert Lamm on Keyboards, Lee Loughnane on Trumpet, James Pankow on Trombone and filling in for Walter Parazaider on Saxophone was Ray Herrmann. Rounding out the band were Jason Scheff on Bass, Tris Imboden on drums, Keith Howland on guitar, Lou Pardidi on keyboards and Walfredo Reyes on percussion. They took their place on stage and the rest of the night is history. With Robert Lamm and Jason Scheff taking vocal duties on most of the songs, the other members got their chance to shine through the night on other songs. And throughout the night, the horn section was very impressive with their playing and stage persona, running all over the stage to play to all sides of the stage for the audience.
Bassist Jason Scheff got the show off and running with vocal duties on "Leave Me Now", which earned a nice applause from the audience. With the first half of the show a little on the oldies and not the classic hits, they went through "Alive Again", "Wake Up Sunshine," and "Call on Me" before hitting another crowd pleaser with “(I've Been) Searchin' So Long" which brought out a crowd sing-a-long. Now, as the crew draws a back curtain across the front of the stage and a couple roadies bring out a keyboard, one of them slips and falls off the stage causing a shocked sound from the audience. All was apparently okay as he received attention, got back up on the stage, and the crowd gave quite the congrats in applause. After all is set up, original keyboardist Robert Lamm introduces Jason Scheff to the front to play “Will You Still Love Me” and before he starts he says, "This one’s for Pete," (the roadie who fell off the stage). After Scheff is finished Lamm takes over the keyboards and plays "Another Rainy Day in New York" solo. Now Lamm introduces the other band keyboardist, Lou Pardini, to the front for his turn in the lime light to which Lou invites percussionist Walfredo Reyes and guitarist Keith Howland to play "Look Away", before finishing their first set with "Make Me Smile." As they walk off the stage, a voice over the speakers says, "Chicago will return to the stage in 15 minutes".
After the intermission, the band returned and opened with "Old Days" and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is" - now we're off to the second half hits show. Next up was "Hard Habit To Break", "Beginnings" and a cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s "I'm A Man", which they also recorded on their first album and always play. The song features a mid-song jam with drummer Tris Imboden and percussionist Walfredo Reyes having a duel between them that is really very impressive. You don't get to hear many drum solos live anymore and then to throw in percussion along with it was just very entertaining as I think the crowd showed from their mighty applause. With no stopping at all, "Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away" was followed by "Saturday in the Park," with the video screens now showing a parade of fireworks display. Their second set ended with "Feelin' Stronger Every Day", with Keith Howland on vocals once again.
After a quick break, they returned to finish out their night with their always closing show hits "Free", with the crowd now rushing to the front of the stage to enjoy not only this hit but " 25 or 6 to 4" to finish one incredible night. As the house lights came up, all band members came front and center stage to give their final bows and waves. They certainly gave us what we came to see - one incredible night of music that I don't think anyone that was there will ever forget.
– Gary Crouthemal, concert photojournalist
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