The legendary rock and roll band with horns, Chicago, paid a visit to the Capital rRgion at Proctors in Schenectady on Wednesday, November 6th. Chicago has toured every year since they started back in the late ’60s and don’t show any signs of slowing down. They have achieved record breaking album sales, countless awards, their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and have been voted one of the top 100 artists of all time. Proctors Main Stage Theater holds 2,700 seats and almost each one filled with new and old fans alike ranging in age, but predominantly middle aged. There was a giant, easily recognized Chicago logo on the backdrop of the stage upon stage setup, in front of the majestic marble columns and rich vintage colors. The crowd was surprised with opening act, acoustic guitar duo Austin Charles and Tim Stop who swooned with their soft melodies and charming harmony. One of the highlights was their rendition of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” a delightful and rebellious serenade.
Chicago wasted no time jumping right into the music with a high energetic blast of new songs and their classic hits. The wide open and double leveled stage gave the musicians plenty of room to stretch the sound. Trumpeter Lee Loughnane expressed how excited they were to be back in Upstate New York and touched base on how they were going to have a whole spread of genres to cover tonight as well as new music. He screamed, “Don’t be afraid to like it! We’re gonna rock!” Chicago has a hard hitting rock sound with their electric guitars and steady percussion plus a heavy touch of jazz that they city of Chicago is known for itself. Jason Scheff laid down a heavy disco bass groove mixing with the boogie of the bongo drums from Wally Reyes. James Pankow was very spunky with his trombone and at one point, dove into a wailing session on the snare drums.
The evening indeed was filled with a wide genre as Chicago played everything from the upbeat rockin’ funk of “Saturday In The Park” to smooth jazzy ballads ala “You’re the Inspiration” and “If You Leave Me Now”. One of the highlights of the night was the sequence of “Make Me Smile” right into “Colour My World” and then very surprisingly back into “Make Me Smile.” This arrangement ended the set and energized the crowd for another hour still to come of Chicago. After the 20 minute intermission, Chicago started with their newest single “America”, a groovy song with political lyrics in great harmony. New music can be unsettling for long time fans of any band but Chicago fans greeted the new music with a respectful applause and relieved that the guys still have more music to share with them for years to come. The band took a moment at the end of the show to celebrate the fact that it was their next to last show of the year and already excited to tour next year. It was unanimous for musicians and patrons that Proctors was a beautiful venue, meant for music.