10

Chicago: Westbury, NY, May 26, 2013

Chicago: Westbury, NY, May 26, 2013
Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
Chicago
NYCB Theatre at Westbury
Westbury, NY
May 26, 2013

During the initial phase of its career, Chicago was considered the preeminent Jazz-rock fusion outfit, its musical mix considered quite revolutionary for its time. By the late 1970s, its music had become iconic. Tragedy struck, however, with the death of guitarist Terry Kath in 1978. Though it took a little while for the band to again find its way, in the 1980s Chicago cemented its place among platinum recording outfits by slightly altering its sound and focusing more on ballads. Over the years, the band has continued to release new material and tour while maintaining a core of original members along with longtime alumni and the occasional new face. Chicago remains one of the most diverse and successful bands of the rock era.

Starting promptly at 8PM, the nine-piece band whose career has spanned decades (formed in Chicago, IL in 1967, releasing its first debut, Chicago Transit Authority (Columbia) in 1968) thrilled its fans in this intimate Long Island venue with a career-spanning two-set performance. Shortly after the opening numbers, co-founding trumpeter/singer/songwriter Lee Loughnane announced that the crowd should feel free to take as many pictures as it liked, much to the delight of the sold-out audience.

The small venue, a standard annual tour stop for Chicago, is a theater in the round featuring a slowly rotating stage that makes every seat an excellent vantage point. The band featured Loughnane and three other original members—keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Robert Lamm, saxophonist/flautist Walter Parazaider and trombonist/songwriter/singer Jimmy Pankow—as well as bassist/singer Jason Scheff, drummer Tris Imboden, guitarist Keith Howland, keyboardist/vocalist Lou Pardini and percussionist Walfredo Reyes Jr., and treated the crowd to an evening of exactly what they came for—a show loaded with classic hits beginning with "Questions 67 & 68," "Dialogue (Parts 1 and 2)" "Alive Again," and "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long."

Scheff then came center stage and commandeered the keyboard for an acoustic version of "Will You Still Love Me?" This was the first of three acoustic love songs, followed by Robert Lamm's "Another Rainy Day In New York City" and "Look Away," which featured Paradini. The show's first half then wrapped up with "Ballet for A Girl in Buchannon."

After a short intermission, the band wowed the crowd with a killer version of "Old Days." The second set was dominated by signature classics such as "Street Player," "Beginnings," "Just You 'N' Me" and "Saturday In The Park." Additionally the second set was highlighted by a ferocious call-and-response drum solo from Imboden and Reyes during "I'm A Man."

The band, led by ringleader Pankow, spent the entire evening smiling while playing, pointing to old friends in the crowd and generally mugging for the many cameras that took pictures through the performance. Each member possessed and demonstrated an energy that fed off of their band mates; it was so contagious that the liveliness and vigor among the audience members appeared to grow with each song and every passing moment. The evening ended on a high note with "Feelin' Stronger Every Day," from Chicago VI (Columbia, 1973). The encores—"Free," from 1971's Chicago III (Columbia) and the Lamm-penned "25 or 6 to 4," from Chicago II (Columbia, 1970), worked the mostly older crowd into even more of a frenzy.

Even now, almost fifty years removed from its first release, Chicago's music continues to excite and (thankfully) thrill audiences. Without showing any signs of slowing down, Chicago remains a vital and strong musical force.

Photo Credit

Christine Connallon

Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.

Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective at the Music Box Supper Club
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Anat Cohen at Davidson College Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Jazzkaar 2016" Live Reviews Jazzkaar 2016
by Martin Longley
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights" Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall" Live Reviews T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall
by Tom Borden and Eric Gibbons
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Punkt Festival 2016" Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2016
by Henning Bolte
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Tallinn Music Week 2017" Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "The Tierney Sutton Band at SFJAZZ Center" Live Reviews The Tierney Sutton Band at SFJAZZ Center
by Asher Wolf
Published: August 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!