Few bands can maintain the longevity that Chicago has over the last 44 years and can still pack the house as they did November 5th at The Stanley Center for the Performing Arts in Utica. It’s amazing how this band has stood the test of time and persevered in the beginning through tumultuous times that revolved around war, peace, equal rights, and continued throughout the next few decades evolving as artists and still connecting with audiences through generations to come. It is their innate ability to transcend us to a specific time and place the moment we hear them. Few bands have the ability to say they accomplished this throughout several generations.
This comes as no surprise though as their background outlines how cutting edge and unique that have always been. In 1969 a group of talented young men had a vision for music to combine rock and roll, swing, and jazz in a way that showcased these genres in a new edgy way. Radio did not know how to market them as their sound was so unique and different, It didn’t fit into any one genre; so airtime was limited. Still this didn’t hinder the group in continuing to write, record, and perform and soon an underground college scene had embraced them as the next best thing on the music scene. Even more unique was their first album debuted as a double album, due to the abundance of music they had to share. Even the graphics on each album indicate their continuance for quality and uniqueness, featuring their logo in new and different ways.
For Chicago is was always the music that was the focus. In the years following, Chicago continued to tour and record more than 34 award willing albums. Their sound as distinct as it is, evolved with the times and their flexibility and ability to remain creative has endured like few other bands have. Even through difficult times and loss of bandmates, this band continues forward, and to this date records and performs like no other. It is the individual talent that each member brings to the table, that makes this band work. They are truly great as a “whole” because of the sum of their talented parts.
It is under this umbrella that Munson Williams Proctor qualifies Chicago as “Great Artists”. For over 70 years, Proctor has brought the Central New York region the most talented artists in their Great Artist Series. Chicago exemplifies this designation. Founding band members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow,, and Ray Hermann still see the vision of what they began, and new members Tris Imboden, Lou Pardini, Keith Howland, and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. continue to follow suit and bring audiences to their feet with favorites such “Saturday In the Park”, “25 or 6 to 4”, “Beginnings”, and/or “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”. The magic however is their ability to reach audiences of multi-generations with both favorites and new music. In the studio recording, even while touring is not out of the norm for these talented musicians. However, pairing them with the Utica Symphony Orchestra definitely put an already amazing performance over the top and raised the bar for all over venues to follow during their 2013 tour.
Forty Four years is a long time to continue in any field of work. However, you can tell while experiencing their live show that to them this is not work. Their energy and love of what they do is apparent and infectious. Audiences worldwide thank you for sharing this love and your uniqueness for generations past and future. Central New York thanks you for joining forces with our very own Utica Symphony Orchestra to provide the most memorable performance ever.