How Chicago Has Rocked My World


My favorite era for music is the 60s and 70s, and one of the bands I've loved since I was born in 1967 is Chicago. I recall hearing their music often as a small kid, and as my mother verified, she played their albums over and over. My father has seen them live five times. But the connection for me has always been the beautiful melodies, incredible instrumentals, brilliant song writing and sexy, heartfelt vocals.

One of the things I dislike about "today" is that "sexy" is often used to define twerking performers, vulgar lyrics, objectifying women and soulless bragging about conquests; listening to it makes me feel as sexy as being "romanced" by an inexperienced grabby grabby Axe cologne-wearing buffoon.

A couple of weeks ago Chicago posted the Onion article: ChicagoTheBand.com The Most Visited Site on the Internet to their Facebook page. Comments like these ensured: 

Ummmm....you know this is an article from The Onion, right? Parody & satire.

Consider the source!!!!

Not that I want to burst any bubbles, but The Onion is a satirical news website.

I then left this comment:

Not long after I saw that little red alert that let me know Chicago has replied to the thread and I read this:

WHAT?!?! Was my first reaction. It's not like they were having a contest! Stuff like that just doesn't happen. I didn't trust it, although snark isn't Chicago's shtick. I proceeded cautiously, wrote "OMG!" and sent a message. I received a quick reply asking me to contact them via email which I immediately did. Meanwhile I tried to explain to my husband what had just happened. "I was just sitting here and...." I pointed to my computer and couldn't speak. Finally I showed him the thread on Facebook.

While waiting for a response it occurred to me that they may not even be playing near me any time soon, so I checked the tour dates. They were going to be playing in Bangor, Maine, two hours away from me, on November 2nd! That would be the second of a whole series of OMG! moments. Let's fast track to one of the most wonderful and magical nights of my life:

They gave me seats front and center!
 
I asked Robert Lamm if I could stand next to him. He held my arm and said: "You're the star here." I also had a brief but meaningful chat with Lee Loughnane.
When I arrived at my seat, the best in the house, (I did win two tickets but we couldn't get a pet sitter in time for our guinea pigs with medical issues so my husband stayed home) I was questioned by a fellow who told me that it couldn't be my seat.

"Are you sure?" he asked, but was really telling me no way is this your seat with hints of getting ready to call security.

"I'm sure of it. Excuse me, I'd like to sit," I said with hints I was getting ready to call security.

I turned to the lovely lady seated next to me and asked: "What's with that guy?"

"Oh, he's my husband."

"Oh. What's with your husband?"

Turns out that the other VIPs were media reps, DJs and radio contest winners whereas I was there because Chicago liked something I said. (If you ask me, that's the best!) Despite the "greeting" from Ryan Cote I really enjoyed chatting with him and his wife. Ryan explained that there are people who try to scam their way into the front seats to which I replied: "So you think I look like a scammer, huh?!" It was all very good-natured ribbing and I couldn't have had better people to be seated next to on my right. In fact Ryan really made me smile when Chicago played "Old Days" and he pointed to me and said that's about me because he got how much I love vintage. Ryan also has his own DJ service, so check it out if you're in Maine. 

To my left was husband and wife team Christopher and Ann Joles of Maine Music News. Christopher and I chatted about his awesome job as rock star photographer and all of the celebrities he's met over the years. A bit further down from them was the fellow who sang "If You Leave Me Now" on stage with the band, and he was fantastic! I wish I had gotten his name so I could give him a shout-out here. (Update: His name is Michael Pacheco. He raised money for the American Cancer Society for a chance to sing with them and this was his third win. Thanks for the info, Colleen!)

But the best part of course was Chicago:






Their performance was nothing short of spectacular! Their wide scope of emotions in their music was evident whether rocking the house with people rushing the stage, moving us to sway to slower love songs or giving me and no doubt thousands of others goosebumps when they performed "Beginnings." Two personal highlights for me was when, on stage, Lee waved to me and when I pointed at Robert and he smiled and pointed back. OMG! Totally swoon-worthy stuff!

And I need to talk about sexy. To me, musically speaking, it means being in touch with who you are, intimately involved with the creative process, a fearless resolve to tap into all and especially the most vulnerable emotions and a professional execution that isn't reliant upon special effects and circus sideshows. That's why I think Chicago is HOT at any age and they are aging beautifully.


 
Selfie of my tour-t in my hotel room after the show

I am so grateful for the kindness of both Chicago and their staff for giving me a magical night, all because of something I said in their defense, a band that needs no defending and whom has given me so much already. Thank you!

Comments

  1. Wow! That is an incredible story! The pics are fantastic. Glad you had a great time. : D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I will never forget that night but love that I have pics to remind me it really happened. : )

      Delete
    2. Wow!,what a wonderful and fantastic memory you received just because of your comments. Very lucky Lady!!! I love the too. Started going to their concerts@16. Followed them North and South in California. Always so great to see them. So many wonderful memories. Happy :) for you....

      Delete
    3. Thank you! Your experience sounds wonderful! : )

      Delete
    4. They are fantastic and I agree with everything you said here. Music just isn't the same these days! BTW, I was born in 1966.

      Delete
    5. Hi! Music definitely is not the same!

      Delete
    6. Nancy-nldavidson62@gmail.com
      Chicago is and always will b my favorite band.. I have seen them multiple times over the years. Have watched them play softball for a local radio station was tbe best!! Ur story is great. Thanks for sharing. N

      Delete
    7. Thank you! (Playing softball?! How cool!)

      Delete
  2. What a cool weekend! I love Chicago and have seen them in concert before. They're fantastic!!!

    But I live in the Chicago suburbs and when I saw your post's title I thought you were here! Ha ha. I was bummed you didn't call me. ;)

    Sarah H

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh excellent, Sarah, a fellow Chicago fan and you've seen them, too! Of course I would call you! : ) I hope to see them again someday!

      Delete
  3. Great great story Have seen them over 20 times never gets old

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good for you to be able to see and meet this group! The guys are clearly good sports and are still making great music live. Here's the thing though - their odds of being played on Top 40 radio today are minimal at best, so they should - and are - making music for their fans. Averyl, I say this as a happily married man - you may enjoy relics but you certainly are not one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is such a fantastic story!! I'm so thrilled for you, so impressed at how utterly classy the band (and their people, by extension) are. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! They really are classy. They have not a single hint of self-importance, either. I love them!

      Delete
  6. Great story - I'm so envious! I too saw that fake headline last week... The most "The Onion"-like part of this entire story is "guinea pigs with medical issues..." :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha! I am a nut about my guinea pigs. One is a rescue. He was abandoned, is elderly and in need of medication and monitoring. However he's comfortable and happy in his new home and has some good quality of life to enjoy. : )

      Delete
  7. They are such an awesome group of guys and they appreciate their fans. Glad you got that experience! I am a bit "envious" of you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am SO JEALOUS! I live in the UK where sadly they are very much off the radar. Shows what top blokes they are.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love it! I saw Chicago in 1984 in Tallahassee, FL. Still remember it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats to you ! Just saw Chicago in Tunica at the Horseshoe and have been an avid follower since the early 70's. First saw them in MD when they were touring with the Beach Boys ! Such great memories ! Will always and forever be a fan !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! One of my favorite videos is of Chicago singing "Wishing You Were Here" with the Beach Boys in the 70s. Lucky you!

      Delete
  11. That would be my dream come true. I'm 58 and have been their biggest Canadian fan since I first heard Make Me Smile on the radio back in '69. I was 13. Saw live in Winnipeg in'72, Calgary in '89 and '96. Best concerts of my life. Too bad they don't get to my neck of the woods often. Alas, concert ticket prices have reduced me to trying to win them on the radio.

    Good for you Averyl, and good on Chicago for showing their class.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I envy those of you who saw them in the 60s and 70s, my favorite era. But they bring it forward to today. I hope you can see them soon!

      Delete
  12. So happy for you! I've seen them 8x, the 1st in 1974 & the last just 2 days ago in Red Bank, NJ! Had the closest seat out of all! My fav group of all time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's heaven in the closest seat!

      Delete
  13. Great story. I've seen them well over 20 times since my 1st in '89, maybe closer to 30, I can't remember. Got my wife hooked in 2000 now she's seen them maybe a dozen. Met them a few times (i got to see in the bus, long story), people think we're nuts but it's always a great show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! As for "nuts" it's a great label to wear if it means seeing Chicago as often as possible. : )

      Delete
    2. Averyl, you're my hero. I bought my first Chicago album in 1969, had to wait until we purchased a record player. Last saw Chicago near the St Criox river in Stillwater MN. It was Saturday, we were in a park and it was after the 4th of July. The moon was full and the band played for over 2 hours. Don't know if it could ever get better...!!

      Delete
    3. Steve! Sometimes the stars align and Chicago makes it sublime. : ) Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  14. I was at that show and it was fantastic! They are a classy group of gentlemen and always give 150% when they perform. I have been lucky enough to have seen them over 200 times and it never gets old...I'm a teenager all over again when I see them. Glad you had such a wonderful experience and by the sounds of it, it won't be your last show!
    BTW, the gentleman who sang with Chicago, he's a friend of mine and his name is Michael Pacheco. He has raised money for the American Cancer Society for a chance to sing with them and this was his third time doing it! Anyway, loved your story and your pics and here's to many more Chicago memories to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen, thank you! I will update my post to reflect his name. I am very impressed- 200 times! You are right- this was my first of what I hope to be many more shows.

      Delete
  15. Awesome story Averyl thanks for sharing! I got to sing "If You Leave Me Now" onstage with them in 2010...what an incredible thrill!!! I've seen them 12 times in concert now...Chicago forever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh boy! Lucky you!!! I can't sing. Not even in the shower. ha. I'm waiting for them to offer a fundraiser where the winner gets to be on stage and have Chicago sing "If You Leave Me Now" to them! :D

      Delete
  16. What a great story! I bet that was an AWESOME show. I had a bad-a** boyfriend in high school who used to sing me the romantic Chicago songs over the phone. Great singer but what a loser in other ways. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha that's funny and cute about your h.s. b.f.

      I just looked at the photos again to make sure that night really happened. Still in awe!

      Delete
  17. Lovely story Averyl..captures the feeling of seeing performers that are special to you perfectly, and to actually share a few moments of interaction with them while they are performing must have been really special!
    I've been a fan of Chicago since '76, but lost touch after personnel changes in the late 80's, they are not very high profile here in UK, however I rediscovered them a year or so ago and was delighted to discover that they sound better than ever! I haven't seen them live....yet! Looking forward to my first time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nick. It truly was special to me. I hope to see them again soon and hope you can do the same. : ) I love that the Internet makes them so much more accessible and their new music possible as they take advantage of digital productions.

      Delete

Post a Comment