Fans were treated to all hits from Chicago’s career spanning two set performance on the return to their hometown at Ravinia for the first of two nights. The band featured original members Robert Lamm on keyboards/guitar, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, Lee Loughnane on trumpet and Walter Parazaider on woodwinds.
They started the show with uptempo songs from their early albums, “Introduction” and “Questions 67 and 68” from “Chicago Transit Authority” and “Dialogue (Part I and II)” from “Chicago V”. The band slowed things down with a ballad, “If You Leave Me Now”. They did this the rest of the night, inserting power ballads between their earlier rocking material. The upbeat song “Alive Again” from “Hot Streets” got the crowd pumped up again before going into “Wake Up Sunshine”.
Chicago took the crowd on a musical style roller coaster with the Latin percussion styled “Call on Me,” James Pankow’s ballad “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” and then into the jazz influenced instrumental “Mongonucleosis”.
“Will You Still Love Me?” gave band members a break as Lou Pardini played it solo on keyboards. Robert was accompanied by a couple bandmates on “Another Rainy Day in New York City” as was Lou on the pop single “Look Away.” The band reassembled for the six song suite “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon” from “Chicago II”. This 12 minute suite contains two of the band’s beloved hits, “Make Me Smile” and “Color My World”.
Chicago opened their second set with “Old Days” a powerful rocking song from “Chicago VII”. They kept the momentum with “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” from their first album. Two power ballads, both reaching Number 3 on the pop charts, “Hard Habit to Break” and “You’re the Inspiration” were next in the set. They returned to their brassy, jazz influenced sound with “Beginnings” from their debut album.
The only cover song of the evening, “I’m A Man” by the Spencer Davis Group, featured an awesome drum and percussion solo between Tris Imboden and Walfredo Reyes Jr. I was surprised with the next selection, “Street Player,” a disco style song from the “Chicago 13” album. Chicago then went back to the power ballads with “Just You ‘n’ Me” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”. They saved their biggest hits for the end of the set with “Saturday in the Park” and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”.
The band started their encore with “Free” off of “Chicago III”. Keith Howland shined on guitar for the final song of the evening “25 or 6 to 4”. He matched the guitar licks of the band’s original guitarist Terry Kath. Overall, it was a great evening of music from one of Chicago’s hometown bands.
2. Questions 67 & 68
3. Dialogue (Part I & II)
4. If You Leave Me Now
5. Alive Again
6. Wake Up Sunshine
7. Call on Me
8. (I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
10. Will You Still Love Me?
11. Another Rainy Day in New York City
12. Look Away
13. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon
i. Make Me Smile
ii. So Much to Say, So Much to Give
iii. Anxiety’s Moment
iv. West Virginia Fantasies
v. Colour My World
vi. To Be Free
vii. Now More Than Ever
14. Old Days
15. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
16. Hard Habit to Break
17. You’re the Inspiration
19. I’m a Man (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
20. Street Player
21. Just You ‘n’ Me
22. Hard to Say I’m Sorry
23. Saturday in the Park
24. Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
26. 25 or 6 to 4