Chicago live for the last time (probably)

Well these pictures have been a long time coming. They are from a Chicago concert I saw back in February, more than four months ago, at the Fred Kavli Theater in Thousand Oaks, CA. I had not planned to see the band live again after their 50th Anniversary show at the Whisky a Go Go last year, and then on February 18 I found myself at this show in an excellent seat due to a gift from a friend, and my reactions to the performance provoked me to finally sit down and write an epic – and I mean hugely epic – story about why it’s not likely I will see them live again. I laboured over the story for months. Months. And sought feedback from friends. And revised it numerous times. And each time I was about to hit Publish, I refrained. And today I decided that I would just put that story – which reviewed the show, put forward opinions on the numerous line-up shifts in the band since the beginning of this year that include a new lead singer, included a critique of the band playing its second album in its not quite entirety, and then as justification for my viewpoint, detailed my 45-year relationship, personal and professional, with Chicago and some reflections on where that stands now and why – on indefinite hold.

Chicago played here in LA ten days ago, their annual appearance at The Forum on a double-header (it had been the Greek Theater for years but The Forum is much bigger, so it’s nice that the band can draw such a big crowd), with the other band on the bill being REO Speedwagon, whom I don’t need to see as I saw them with Chicago just a few years ago and I’m not a fan. While that show was going on, I watched some of the videos that were being streamed and knew that my feelings hadn’t changed and was relieved, as until recently I could not conceive of being close to a Chicago show and not going.

I will say that I loved Chicago for a long, long time and that I will always be an ardent advocate of their early recorded work right through until, and even a couple of albums after, the death of Terry Kath. I am proud and privileged to have conducted some of the most in-depth interviews with the two original key songwriters of the band, and to have spent time with all of the members at various times in various places since I was a cute 16-year old meeting them for the first time back in Sydney. I will also say that at the many (more than I can count) Chicago concerts I have been to, they have always put on an energetic show with stellar musicianship. I have loved photographing them in recent years particularly, and Jimmy Pankow on trombone is one of my favourite subjects to photograph in concert – ever. But I am pretty sure these will be the last photos I take of them. And not the last time I will write about them. And that’s all for now.


4 thoughts on “Chicago live for the last time (probably)

  1. Thanks for the great series of photos and dialogue, I have seen Chicago 6 times now, over a 50 year period. I also got to interview them in 1972 here in Sydney. What a buzz that was!:). It will be interesting to see how much longer they can continue to tour?


    • As you probably saw I just wrote about them at a show here in California this week. They’ll keep touring until Robert Lamm gives up, and even then possibly on and on as he has indicated he’d be happy for non-original artists to carry on playing in their name. Sadly.

      How great that you were there in 1972 and met Terry Kath when you interviewed them! It was just a couple of years before my concert-going time. But 1979 at the Sydney Sportsground was amazing.


      • Sorry for the late reply!…So glad you are helping keep the Chicago name alive here in Oz..They will leave an amazing musical legacy behind them when they finally decide to call it a day!..I hope they do one more studio album of original material before that day though?:)


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