Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2016 – Part 2: Chicago

Chicago8 April 2016, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Finally the greatest ever rock band with horns has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After many years of following and befriending and interviewing and adoring this band, I had to be in the room to witness the event, especially with their co-founder and original drummer Danny Seraphine reuniting with his former bandmates. This is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of body language and whether the guys were as warm and fuzzy with each other in the long-awaited reunion as we all hoped. They all seemed overcome with emotion and nerves.

After an induction speech by Rob Thomas, who despite claiming to be a huge Chicago fan could not seem to pronounce a few of the members’ names correctly, on stage they came. Founding father of the band, Walt Parazaider, gave the first speech and set a sincere and grateful tone, choking up when thanking his wife of nearly 50 years. Robert Lamm was not as smooth and profound as I thought he might be, but it was lovely to hear him say that his three daughters had all come to New York for the event, and I will say I have not seen him look so darn gorgeous in many years. Lee Loughnane thanked all of his ex-wives (four, we think), for keeping him working, which he loves to do. James Pankow was humbled and I was touched to hear him thank his first wife, Karen (the inspiration for “Just You ‘n’ Me”), as well as his second wife, for giving him his four children.

Then Danny Seraphine came to the microphone and amid a flurry of “F” words gave a passionate, excited speech, thanked everyone by name who had played in Chicago past and present, and spoke emotionally about how much it meant for him to be back for one night with his band after 25 years. He then introduced Michelle Kath Sinclair, the daughter of original lead guitarist Terry Kath, whose absence 38 years after his death cut deeply. Michelle did her father proud.

They performed, predictably, “Saturday In The Park”, “”Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is” and “25 or 6 to 4” and proved as always that their nearly 50-year career has been one of guts and glory. As Irving Azoff has said, “The three greatest American bands are the Eagles, the Beach Boys and Chicago.” Now at last, the third of those bands is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Typically, they returned to their current tour and were onstage somewhere else the next night. Long live Chicago. (Peter Cetera was not there. His loss.)

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