Monday, June 15, 2009

Saturday in the Park

OK, so it was actually Sunday. And we weren't in a park, as much as an outdoor concert venue; but you'll see where I'm going here...
We just got back from seeing a great concert: Chicago with Earth, Wind & Fire at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. It was a show I'd been wanting to see since these groups starting touring together two summers ago.

I first saw Chicago play Poughkeepsie's Mid-Hudson Civic Center in early 1992 (I believe it was '92) and I still tell people it's the best concert I've ever seen that wasn't one of my top three musical acts: those being, in order, New Kids On The Block, Barry Manilow and Britney Spears.

This CD, which chronicles the band's best songs from the '80s, has long been a staple of my musical collection; even before the CD, I owned the cassette tape (remember them?). It's got some real gems, both while after lead singer Peter Cetera was with the band. From "Hard Habit to Break" and "You're the Inspiration," to "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "If She Would Have Been Faithful," this CD has got them all. It's great listening!

With almost two decades of great memories from both that first — they played for more than two hours during that '92 concert — and amazing music, I'd tried in vain to attend Chicago's local concerts each of the past two summers.This year, however, I was able to snag a few tix to see the show and both bands were well worth the wait. For almost three full hours, we were treated to one set of EWF, one set of Chicago, and still another the two groups finished the show playing together. It was almost like three concerts in one! (And in these hard economic times, can you beat that?!)

Perhaps it's the wordsmith in me, but I've long been a fan of Chicago's lyrics. How can you not enjoy songs with lines like It's a paradox, full of contradiction (from "If She Would Have Been Faithful"), or ...another illusion I chose to create (from"Hard Habit to Break")? So I knew what to expect Chicago and they didn't disappoint — simply amazing from the first song to the last.

As was EWF, who got us dancing from the opening song. Having traveled to Sullivan County solely for Chicago, I viewed EWF as a bonus: Whatever they played, I'd have been happy with. But between "September" and "Sing A Song" and "After the Love Has Gone," among others, I was singing their songs as much as Chicago's on the drive home. Now, I'd known a few of their songs, but my GF and I were amazed how many times during their portion of the show we turned to each other and said, "Oh, I know this song!"

Not as familiar with Chicago as I was, not to mention EWF, she was amazed how many of the songs she heard last night she recognized. Each group played almost all of their hits, making it a fun night for both of us.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Chicago is an overlooked band!! Great songs...big hits!!!