The band Chicago, played to a nearly sell-out crowd at Melbourne's King Center Friday night. The band rocked their way through a two and a half hour show with the audience on it's feet for most of them.
The band showed it's versatility with Trombonist James Pankow playing keyboard, and
Saxophonist Walt Parazaider picking up a flute, most notably for " Color My World ".
Drummer Tris Imboden and Percussionist Walfredo Reyes Jr. thrilled the audience with a much-anticapated jam session, accompanied by a dazzling light show. Keith Howland, on lead guitar, had several well-deserved spotlight sections and many felt his presence and ability was key to keeping younger audience members happy. For the encore, a huge American flag was unfurled as the backdrop for the final two songs.
The following band members were on board for the concert Friday:
- Robert Lamm - Founding member: Robert wrote many of the band's biggest hits, including "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "Beginnings," "Saturday in the Park," "Dialogue" & "25 or 6 to 4." He is known for his keyboard and vocal contributions.
- Lee Loughnane - Founding member: Beside mad trumpet skills, Loughnane wrote the hit singles "Call on Me", "No Tell Lover" , as well as "Together Again" and "This Time".
- James Pankow - Founding member: Trombonist James Pankow has composed many song for Chicago, including the hits "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World", "Just You 'N' Me," "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long," "Old Days," "Alive Again," and is responsible for most of Chicago's horn arrangements.
- Walt Parazaider - Founding member: Parazaider is versatile and can play saxophone, flute, and woodwinds. His writing contributions include "It Better End Soon: 2nd Movement", "Free Country", "Aire", "Devil's Sweet", and "Window Dreamin'". Parazaider is famous for his flute solo in the Chicago hit "Colour My World".
- Jason Scheff - Jason joined Chicago in mid-1985 when Peter Cetera left to pursue a solo career. He was able to duplicate Cetera's vocal parts, and play bass guitar which allowed the band to continue its touring/recording efforts without a hitch. Scheff has composed several original songs for the band, including their 1989 Top 10 single "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?."
- Tris Imboden - He joined Chicago in 1990. Before that he a successful career as a studio session player, having played with such artists as Neil Diamond, Kenny Loggins, Firefall, Richard Marx, Steve Vai, Roger Daltrey and Crosby, Stills & Nash. He has also toured as a drummer with Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau, Firefall, Cock Robin and others.
- Keith Howland - Chicago's lead guitarist since 1995, Howland graduated from James Madison University in 1986 with a degree in communications. After graduation he moved to Los Angeles, performing and making invaluable contacts in the music industry. Being a long-time fan of the band he came to auditions and thanks to a chance meeting with Jason Scheff, he was offered a job the same day.
- Lou Pardini - Lou is an American Grammy-nominated keyboardist, songwriter, and vocalist. He has worked with Stevie Wonder and Santana, and joined Chicago in 2009. He has also written songs for artists such as Smokey Robinson and The Temptations.
- Walfredo Reyes Jr - Nicknamed a "one man percussion show", Reyes came to Chicago with quite the musical resume'. His work experience includes touring and / or recording with: Carlos Santana, Traffic, Steve Winwood, Jackson Browne, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, David Lindley, Ricki Lee Jones, Richard Marx, Sergio Mendes, Smokey Robinson, Robbie Robertson, Joe Sample, Boz Scaggs, Christina Aguilera, and Ricky Martin.
Chicago's set list started out softly, with a few familiar top ten songs, and evolved into a long line of well-known favorites that had everyone up and dancing. The following songs were included:
- Call On Me
- Saturday in the Park
- Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
- Make Me Smile
- Beginnings (9min)
- Feelin' Stronger Every Day
- Just You 'n' Me
- 25 or 6 to 4
- I'm a Man
- If You Leave Me Now
- Free (flag, encore)
- Hard to Say I'm Sorry
- Hard Habit to Break
- Old Days
- (I've Been) Searchin' So Long
- Wake Up Sunshine
- Look Away
Chicago seems ageless. Even though they released their first album way back in 1969, they are "Feeling Stronger Every Day" and demonstrated it to the crowd at the King Center. Despite the personnel changes over the years, the group still keeps active. They are one of the few major rock groups that has never broken up or even taken an extended hiatus. And four of the six surviving founding members (major songwriters Lamm and Pankow, plus Loughnane and Parazaider) are still going strong. Jason Scheff has been with the band over 20 years, Tris Imboden over 15 years and Keith Howland over 13 years. The group looked to be enjoying themselves and were especially friendly with the audience. And while the tickets were a little more than the usual concert at the King Center, they were very much worth it.