The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Chicago Concert Review, Austin TX 4/15/2013

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Last night I saw Chicago. Yep. Another non-metal band being reviewed at The Metal Files. My history with this band goes as far back as my history with hard rock. Maybe even a little further back thanks to mom’s musical tastes. As a little kid riding in the back of our silver ’73 Chevy Nova 2dr, it was AM gold all the way when mom was at the wheel. At that time (mid-70s), Chicago was huge and always on the radio. Through my whole life, because of that background, that 70s smooth rock will always be near and dear to me and I’m proud of it. Into the late 70s and early 80s, Chicago’s popularity had waned a little and I was more into the metal. That wasn’t to say I didn’t like hearing Chicago, but they weren’t priority. I was discovering newer and heavier things. Then in 1982, Chicago 16 hit the streets…and the airwaves. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away and Love Me Tomorrow. They were all over MTV as well, but we didn’t have cable so I’d only see it occasionally at a friend’s house. Then just 2 years later they release Chicago 17 which went even bigger than the previous album. Stay the Night, Hard Habit to Break, Along Come a Woman, You’re the Inspiration. They were huge. Then Peter Cetera left to pursue a solo career. Chicago picked up Jason Scheff , whose dad was a touring bass for Elvis. The band had some more hits with Will You Still Love Me and Look Away. From that point on they lost popularity again as MTV and the radio completely switched gears. Cetera’s solo career did pretty well and I love his albums Solitude/Solitaire and One More Story. I’m a sucker for a good romantic ballad and Chicago had no shortage of them. Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away is my fave by them. Such a great tune and such a shame that when it’s played on the radio, Get Away is always left off.

When I started playing drums in 1984, I practiced to a lot of their music. Danny Seraphine was/is a great drummer. 25 or 6 to 4 was a great song to learn double bass to, even if there’s none in that song.

I first saw Chicago in 1991 at Chrysler Hall with my friend and her mom. They were great and I’m not sure why I never went to see them again before last night’s show. But that’s not important. What is important is that they were absolutely incredible last night. I brought my best friend Amelia along with me. It was her first wedding anniversary a few days prior so I thought this would make a nice gift. The hubby stayed home. He’s not a fan. Oh well.

This show was at the ACL Live at The Moody Theater. I’ve rambled on before about how much I love this place. I was dead center balcony in the front row again, only a few seats over from where I sat for Pat Benatar a few nights earlier. It’s my favorite spot in the house, although there really aren’t any bad seats there.

They opened up with an instrumental that I don’t recall the name. Hopefully someone can clear it up for me. Recent shows listed Ballet For a Girl in Buchannon but that was played later in the set. In their first set they stayed primarily in the 60s and 70s with the exception of Look Away and Will You Still Love Me. Jason Sheff’s vocals were great. He was the perfect replacement for Peter Cetera. Everyone’s vocals sounded great, actually. These dudes, the original guys anyway, are not spring chickens. They’re in their mid to late 60s. Impressive musicianship, especially in blowing their horns. I was amazed by how energetic they all were, especially the over the top Jim Pankow. He was all over the place. He played a little percussion as well and obviously has the chops. During If You Leave Me Now they had a special guest singer who had one a charity auction bid to sing with the band. I had read about it online and thought it would be just like a backup singer sort of thing. But no, dude came out and NAILED it. Apparently he’d been on stage with them before. I’d like to know what his final bid was to do that. I would’ve asked to play drums for a song. But again, the guy sounded great. Good on ya, man! It was also great hearing Wake Up Sunshine from Chicago II! In between one of the songs, I believe it was Pankow who said, “Go ahead and take all of the pictures and videos you want. Post them everywhere. If we like any of them, we’ll use them too!”

They took a short 15-20 minute break and came on with a second set which started with Old Days. They kept rolling through their hits from the 70s and 80s and finally got to Hard To Say I’m Sorry/Get Away. I really do love that song. It’s an incredibly sad song about breaking up and reminds me of some simple times in the early 80s when the only thing I had to worry about was homework, music and chores…and girls. This song also reminds me of the days at the Suffolk Swimming Pool. It’s a place where I met some friends that have remained close friends for life. That was a special place and really just ridiculous in a lot of ways. Those are stories for another time. But, they always had Z-104 playing over the PA at the pool and Hard To Say I’m Sorry seemed like it was played once an hour in that summer. Music certainly can take you to places in the past. It’s always done that for me. They also played Street Player from Chicago 13. A bit of an off cut but it was a great album. I have all of Chicago’s stuff up to an including 19. I love it all.

They closed the second set with Feeling Stronger Everyday. A quick minute off of the stage and they came right back for their encore of Free from Chicago III and 25 or 6 to 4.

The show wasn’t sold out but it was close. It was one of the best non-metal shows I have ever seen and it makes me regret not going more often in the last 22 years. I’m still flying high from last night. Good string of shows coming up, too. Bob Mould, Black Flag, Hall and Oates, Steely Dan and Iron Maiden. What a life!

Goodnight everybody!

Goodnight everybody!

Written by The Metal Files

April 16, 2013 at 6:01 pm

One Response

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  1. […] state enough how much I love this venue.  I’ve been an H&O fan since I was a kid.  Like Chicago, H&O reminds me of listening to the radio in mom’s ’73 Chevy Nova.  AM Gold!  AM […]


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