Views on pop culture through my eyes

Chicago: Still Rockin’

Chicago in Concert
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Hollywood Bowl

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
With the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Thomas Wilkins, Conductor

Special guest: U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West

Songs performed: Introduction, Questions 67 & 68, Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon, Make Me Smile, So Much to Say So Much to Give, Anxiety’s Moment, West Virginia Fantasies, Colour My World, To Be Free, Call on Me, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, Hard Habit to Break, You’re the Inspiration, Beginnings, Just You n’ Me, Hard to Say I’m Sorry/ Get Away, Saturday in the Park, Feeling Stronger Every Day, 25 or 6 to 4

chicago-950Comments: Chicago, the rock and roll band with horns, played to 3 sold-out shows for the July 4th weekend at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. They were backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under the conduction of Thomas Wilkins.

Chicago is coming off a great year for them. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, along with a performance at the Grammy Awards.

This was the 6th time that I had seen the band live, the last time being 2007. And their last album was in 2014.

So what kind of show do you get from a legacy group like Chicago? You get great musicians and singers giving it their all, and having a good time up on stage.

The evening started with the Orchestra running through some patriotic standards, along with special guest the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West. They did the traditional salute to the different branches of the military, in which audience members who served are encouraged to stand up.

After a short break, Chicago came on with the Orchestra. They ran through some early album cuts that spotlighted what fantastic musicians they are. Then the hits started coming.

So you got “Colour My World,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” You’re the Inspiration,” “Hard Habit to Break” and of course “Saturday in the Park.” Robert Lamm has turned into the star of the group from my perspective. I was disappointed that Jason Scheff is not touring with them this time around. His vocals were covered by Jeff Coffey who did a respectable job.

After “Feeling Stronger Every Day,” the band exited the stage for the Orchestra to play more patriotic music as the fireworks were launched. They bought out the conductor for the military band who was very dramatic with his conducting style and plus he took a moment to salute during the performance too.

Chicago came back for the encore of “25 or 6 to 4.” This band still impresses me after all this time. They have been smart about bringing in some younger members to help them fill out their sound. And unlike Heart, another legacy act I saw last year at the Bowl, they are not known for indulgent cover songs. They stick to their impressive song catalog, and there is a lot to choose from. I am sure I will be seeing them again in the future.

Thanks to the band for another fun show at one of my favorite venues. Long live Chicago!

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Speedos lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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