Saturday, August 31, 2013
Back in the day, in my case "the day" may as well be the Bronze Age, there was a rock band so unique, so different, and had no idea how to know when enough is enough just like the jazz bands I love so much. Chicago Transit Authority had horns, three different singers, and put stuff out on their double albums (cuz they had no idea how to rein it in) like 4 minutes of protesters chanting "The Whole World Is Watching" from the 1968 Democratic Convention.
Last night, Max and I spent the last night of 2013's See Em Before They're Dead Tour watching the current lineup of Chicago (no Transit Authority anymore they got sued)play the outdoor site at Harrah's. Unfortunately, the best singer is truly dead (Terry Kath) and the other singer is musically dead (Peter Cetera) so we had to listen to Robert Lamm do his stuff (Beginnings Question 67&68) and pale imitators do the Kath and Cetera stuff.
I would like to say I loved it, but I really can't. I am not a fan of that soft rock that Chicago started doing after Terry Kath exercised his 2nd Amendments rights back on January 23rd,1978 and blew his head off. And to get to the good stuff (Dialogue, Does Anybody Know What Time It Is, Beginnings, 25 or 6 to 4, Make Me Smile, I'm A Man) you had to sit through the lousy stuff (Hard Habit to Break, and anything put out after 1/23/78). Then you had the good stuff sung by people who couldn't do it justice. For instance, my favorite Chicago song is Dialogue, which featured both Kath and Cetera trading lyrics about relevant shit that holds true today (God I've had that conversation from that song so many times) but when done by others it just doesn't cut it. In fact YouTube "Dialogue" from 1972 with the original members. Breathtaking!
Chicago is what they are now. 4 original members , three of whom are horn players and Lamm and if that's good enough for you, great. It just made me miss an enormous talent like Terry Kath more. I truly do put the guy in the list of Top Ten rock singers of all time. The white Ray Charles. In fact, I had to show Max a picture of Kath to prove he was white. Sorry, but Lou Pardini just isn't Kath.
I hate to imply I hated this concert because I didn't. Chrissakes, they jammed to I'm A Man! It was good, but not great and goddammit I like great! RIP, Terry! You were great!
Side story, back in the 70's there was a bar here in Omaha called Chicago Bar I would frequent. It used the band's logo on the front window and one day while the band was in town they drove by the bar and saw the front window. They sued. And the Chicago Bar had to repaint the window. It did not make the Chicago Bar management smile.