For those that can remember what buying a vinyl record was like, what was the first double album you ever purchased? Was it the Beatles “White Album?” Maybe it was the Rolling Stones “Exile on Main Street.” Or perhaps it was “Chicago Transit Authority,” or “Chicago” or “Chicago III,” or “Chicago VII.” Clearly, with so many double album releases, the band Chicago had a lot of music they wanted to share with the world. The band will be sharing their “rock band with horns” sound in person on Saturday night, August 10, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix.
Formed in 1967, Chicago has sold more albums than any other American band in history. It’s easy to see why. “Make Me Smile, “25 or 6 to 4,” “Colour My World,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Call on Me,” “If You Leave Me Now,” all Chicago songs from just their first decade. Maybe you were more of a 1980’s Chicago fan with songs like “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Look Away,” or “Hard Habit to Break.” With twenty two studio albums, Chicago has produced a wide variety of popular music which spans musical genres such as rock, jazz fusion, progressive rock, soft rock and power ballad rock
As might be expected for a band that has been around for forty six years, Chicago has gone through some personnel changes. However, many of the “new faces” have played with the band longer than those members they replaced. Original band members, Robert Lamm on keyboards and vocals, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, James Pankow on trombone and Walt Parazaider on woodwinds still remain. Bassist/vocalist, Jason Scheff, replaced Peter Cetera back in 1985. Drummer Tris Imboden joined the group in 1990. Guitarist Keith Howland, now in his eighteenth year with the band, is the longest tenured guitar player ever with Chicago. Only Lou Pardini on keyboards, who four years ago replaced Bill Champlin (himself not a band member until 1981) and percussionist Walfredo Reyes Jr. can be considered new.
As they have done for the last four years, Chicago has teamed up with the American Cancer Society to help fight breast cancer with the “Sing with Chicago” promotion. An auction is now open for a fan to have an opportunity to sing onstage with the band the song, “If You Leave Me Now,” as well as receive a meet and greet with Chicago, two premium tickets and backstage passes. Fans can bid for the Phoenix show, or other upcoming performances, at www.cancer.org/involved/donate/otherwaystogive/sing-with-chicago.
Although the days of the double album may be gone, you can now download two of Chicago’s latest efforts, “The Nashville Sessions,” or “Chicago in Chicago.” The former is an updated version of early Chicago songs recently redone in the studio by the current band members. The latter features highlights of Chicago’s concert in Chicago last year.
For those who wish to see Chicago in Phoenix for a Saturday in the round, tickets are available at the Celebrity Theatre box office, by phone at (602) 267-1600, ext. 1 or online at www.celebritytheatre.ticketforce.com. Ticket prices run from $65.00 to $125.00 plus surcharge. Information can also be obtained through the Danny Zelisko Presents website. The Celebrity Theatre is located just south of the 202 freeway, at 440 N. 32nd St., in Phoenix.