It may not have been Saturday, but everyone in the park was celebrating like it was. Artpark’s Tuesday In The Park concert series presented Chicago, a band Artpark president George Osborne said they were trying to land for the last five years. Chicago did not disappoint those who waited for the band to grace the stage at Artpark.
The band played two sets of classics that included a twenty minute intermission in front of a sold out crowd of 10,000 strong. Chicago delivered on all fronts as keyboardist, singer Robert Lamm mentioned early in the show when he said it was to be a long show and the songs everyone would want to hear would be played by the end of it all.
The weather cooperated despite a lingering threat of a shower. The band kicked things off with “Questions 67 and 68” before going into “Dialogue (Part 1 and 2)”. Things picked up a bit for the #1 smash “If You Leave Me Now”, however they selected a fan to come up and sing it with bassist/vocalist Jason Scheff which took some of the luster away from the song a bit. Not that the fan was bad but most fans would like to hear the band perform it.
There was an acoustic segment that began with Scheff being left alone to play “Will You Still Love Me” with just a keyboard. Lamm was up next and brought percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr. who played a conga as well as guitarist Keith Howland to perform rarity “Another Rainy Day In New York City”. Completing the acoustic part the spotlight turned to keyboardist Lou Pardini as he played the keyboard and sang the #1 hit “Look Away”.
“Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon” concluded the first set as the near thirteen minute song was brought to life by Jimmie Pankow. Pankow composed the song which contains seven tracks, two of which reached the top 10 in “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World”. Pankow, is one of four founding members still playing with the band as well as keyboardist, singer Lamm, trumpet player Lee Loughnane and multi-instrumentalist Walter Parazaider.
The band returned for the second set, and this is where the show really took off. “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” received the biggest ovation up to this point as it was followed by “Hard Habit To Break” and “You’re The Inspiration” a pair of top ten songs featuring Scheff on lead vocals. Scheff it should be noted is the son of Jerry Scheff who at one time toured with Elvis Presley. Scheff came into the band in 1985 taking over for Peter Cetera who departed for a solo career.
“Saturday In The Park” was the song most wanted to hear and the band was hitting on all cylinders by this point. A cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m A Man” shone the spotlight on drummer Tris Imboden and Reyes, Jr. as they were left on stage with just the two of them for a lengthy solo before the band returned to finish the song. The band closed with the powerful “25 Or 6 To 4”.
After the show I caught up with fans who had seen the band in Rhode Island recently. They said the band was good that night but something about the scenic Artpark made this show even more enjoyable. The band said the only reason why they can still play is because of their dedicated fans who they tipped their hat to. It was a great night for both the band and the fans as both celebrated Chicago’s illustrious career and here’s hoping they come back to Artpark real soon.
Questions 67 and 68
Dialogue (Part 1 and 2)
If You Leave Me Now
Call on Me
(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
Will You Still Love Me?
Another Rainy Day in New York City
Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Hard Habit to Break
You’re the Inspiration
I’m a Man (Spencer Davis Cover)
Just You ‘n’ Me
Saturday in the Park
Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away
Feelin’ Stronger Every Day (Partial)
25 or 6 to 4