Chicago is back in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the Pikes Peak Center. The classic jazz-rock sound has remained as band members have changed. The heart of Chicago remains with original members, James Pankow on trombone, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, and Robert Lamm on keyboards and his usual rich vocals on many of their hits. These guys may be in their 70s, but they haven’t slowed down musically.
A 45-minute set of classic hits and deeper cuts from their early 70s albums followed by a diverse greatest hits in the second set. The Pikes Peak Center had a full house with the older, sitting audience cheering and singing along to every classic song Chicago played. Many in the audience were reminiscing about their high school days with singles from Chicago Transit Authority to Chicago X in the first set.
It was great to hear them start with “Introduction” from their first album, The Chicago Transit Authority, with Lamm on lead vocals with his keytar. Blistering solos followed by the horn section of James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, and Ray Herrmann on saxophone. Pankow is the cheerleader, greeter, and clown for Chicago. He used his trombone as a baton throughout the concert. James Pankow is still the life of the party at 74.
“Questions 67 & 68” and “Dialogue” followed with chief tenor vocalist Neil Donell on lead with his four-octave vocal range. Chicago continues the trip down memory lane with “Wake Up Sunshine” and “Call on Me.” This was followed by the popular “I’ve Been Searching So Long.” Highlights from each of the songs were the impressive finger-tapping solos by guitarist Keith Howland. Shoutouts to the rest of the talented band members. This included the rhythm section of Brett Simons on bass, drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr., percussionist Ramon “Ray” Yslas. Keyboardist Loren Gold from the Who is substituting for Chicago band member Lou Pardini.
The sitting audience was brought to their feet with the next song. Chicago’s first number hit, “If You Leave Me Now.” featured Howland playing acoustic guitar. Neil Donell was lead with his best tenor Cetera-like vocals.
Ending the blistering 45-minute set was the mini-rock opera “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon.” This song suite contains many popular Chicago classic staples. This included “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World.” The first set ended with “Now More Than Ever.”
After a quick 20 minute intermission, Chicago returned with their most popular radio staples. This included “Alive Again,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Old Days.” The band followed with two of their most popular songs from the 80s, “Hard Habit To Break” and “You’re the Inspiration” from Chicago 17. This brought the very patient fans of the 80s version of Chicago to their feet.
Next was the cover of Spencer Davis’ “I’m a Man,” featuring a fierce Howland solo. This was followed by a drumming and percussionist duet from the drummer, Walfredo Reyes Jr., and percussionist Ramon “Ray” Yslas. It was fun to see them do a synchronize percussion duet plus switching places playing each other’s instrument.
The power ballad, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” was next. All I saw was a sea of cell phone flashlights waving in the dark auditorium. Chicago ended the hit set with “Saturday in the Park” and an abridged version of “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.” Chicago ended the night with its signature song, “25 or 6 to 4.”
What a fun concert to attend for fans of the classic 70s Chicago albums. It was great to have one of the iconic traditional rock groups at the Pikes Peak Center again.
Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
Lee Loughnane – trumpet, flugelhorn, backing vocals
James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
Walfredo Reyes Jr. – drums
Ray Herrmann – saxophones, flute, backing vocals
Neil Donell – vocals, acoustic guitar
Brett Simons – bass, backing vocals
Ramon “Ray” Yslas – percussion
Loren Gold – keyboardist
2.) Questions 67 & 68
3.) Dialogue (Part I & II)
4.) Wake Up Sunshine
5.) Call on Me
7.) (I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
8.) If You Leave Me Now
9.) Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon:
10.) Make Me Smile
11.) So Much to Say, So Much to Give
12.) Anxiety’s Moment
13.) West Virginia Fantasies
14.) Colour My World
15.) To Be Free
16.) Now More Than Ever
17.) Alive Again
18.) Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
19.) Old Days
20.) Hard Habit to Break
21.) You’re the Inspiration
23.) I’m a Man (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
(drum percussion duet)
24.) Street Player
25.) Just You ‘n’ Me
26.) Hard to Say I’m Sorry / Get Away
27.) Saturday in the Park
28.) Feelin’ Stronger Every Day (abridged version)
30.) 25 or 6 to 4
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