Chicago + Earth Wind & Fire

18 July 2015, The Forum, Los Angeles, CA

A visual and aural spectacular, how could this not be my biggest concert photo album yet? Three and a half hours of amazing performances, two bands who have so much fun together it’s impossible not to be swept up in the joy and the drama of it.

Earth Wind & Fire are freaks of nature – their energy, their excitement, their choreography and their heavy costumes (how do they perform in those?) are breathtaking enough. And then there is Philip Bailey’s voice. And Verdine White’s bass playing and gigantic presence. Mindblowing.

By comparison, Chicago, albeit with nine members, seemed small on the big Forum stage. They still blow the best horns in rock and roll, and I am still completely obsessed with photographing Jimmy Pankow and his trombone. Founding father Walt Parazaider was in great form (he doesn’t perform so often with them any more due to health issues) and Robert Lamm, at nearly 71 years old, is still standing strong and sophisticated.

But my horny boys, whose front row I first sat in more than 36 years ago, are looking weary. I know they still love to play, and they still play incredibly well. You don’t play “25 or 6 to 4” for 47 years without playing it perfectly. I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with them in recent years but last night I truly loved them. However on this occasion, Earth Wind & Fire were the greater band.

 

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