Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Concert Review: Chicago in Manila

(Excerpt from my article featured in
After their successful concert show in Manila last September 2009, Chicago, the legendary, self-described rock and roll band with horns, returns to Manila’s Smart Araneta Coliseum to continue their legacy of music they inherited from their parents and their teachers and have brought to millions of fans. Considered one of the longest running and most successful pop/rock ‘n’ roll groups in history, Chicago comes in at #13 in Billboard Magazine’s list of Top 100 artists of all time.
Their lifetime achievements include a Grammy Award and multiple American Music Awards, being elected as Founding Artist to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and having a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame plus Keys to and proclamations from an impressive list of US cities. A Chicago street was also dedicated in their honor.

Formed in 1967 at band member’s Walter Parazaider’s apartment in Chicago, Illinois, the band released their debut album “Chicago Transit Authority” in 1969 (inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014). Since then, they have had record sales topping the 100,000,000 mark and  had 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles and 5 Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 36 albums have been certified platinum and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards.
Aside from Walter Parazaider (on saxophones, flute, clarinet and  backing vocals), other original members of the 1967 band include Robert Lamm (on keyboards, vocals, 12-string guitar), Lee Loughnane (on trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, percussion and vocals), James Pankow (on trombone, percussion, keyboards and vocals).  Joining them are Jason Scheff (since 1985, on bass guitar, vocals and keyboards), Tris Imboden (since 1990, on drums and percussion), Keith Howland (since 1995, on guitar and vocals), former long-term Santana member Walfredo Reyes, Jr. (since 2012, on percussion) and renowned jazz artist Lou Pardini (since 2009, on keyboards and vocals).

The sizeable crowd that night at the Big Dome for this one night only concert were mostly grey-haired, in the 40s, 50s an 60s age bracket, but included a lot of teenagers (probably accompanying their parents or grandparents).  The 2.5-hour (with a 15-min. intermission in between) concert featured 30 of Chicago’s past hits, instrumental pieces and some of their songs from their latest albums. The concert started on a slow note but soon picked up when they sang the Grammy Award winning “If You Leave Me Now” which, according to Robert (who thanked the audience), became a hit in the Philippines as well as all over the world.
With this song, the audience soon joined in and also did so with “Will You Still Love Me” (a solo of Jason on keyboards), “Look Away” (a solo with Lou on keyboards) and the pensive “Colour My World” (with Walter performing the highly recognizable flute solo).  Other songs sang in the first half included “Dialogue 1 & 2,” “Alive Again,” “Wake Up Sunshine,” “I’ve Been Searching So Long,” “Call On Me,” “Another Day in New York City,” “Now” (a new song from the band’s latest 2014 album, “Chicago XXXVI), “Make Me Smile” and “So Much to Say, So Much to Give.”

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