Chicago plays 25 or 6 hits for appreciative Stir crowd - Omaha.com
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Jason Scheff of Chicago sings with the band in front of 3,800 fans at Stir Cove in Council Bluffs.(KEVIN COFFEY/THE WORLD-HERALD)


CONCERT REVIEW

Chicago plays 25 or 6 hits for appreciative Stir crowd
By Kevin Coffey / World-Herald staff writer


COUNCIL BLUFFS — Chicago’s show at Stir Cove felt like a high school reunion full of old friends, songs you remember from high school and the occasional slow dance. You know, nostalgia and good times you remember, just like in the “Old Days.”

In fact, the only song missing from the nostalgia fest was the ultimate nostalgia tune, “Old Days,” and its lyrics about comic books, blue jeans and “Howdy Doody.”

For two hours, Chicago played a greatest hits set that included favorites such as “You’re the Inspiration, ” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Saturday in the Park.”

Packed into Stir Cove were 3,800 fans, and it was hard to find a place to stand or sit. The audience’s energy fueled Chicago’s set.

“We are very excited to be back here playing for you,” said Chicago’s trumpeter Lee Loughnane. “Be patient. You’ll be able to hear the song you came to hear.”

The band’s signature style — rock music with horns — was well on display as Loughnane and fellow brass players Nick Lane and Larry Klimas almost immediately took center stage to play songs such as “Beginnings,” “We Can Change the World” and “I’ve Been Searching.”

Though only two of the band’s original members remain, most members of the band are longtime players with Chicago. Take bassist/singer Jason Scheff, who has been in the band since 1985 and sounds almost exactly like former singer Peter Cetera.

The nine-member band is full of talented guys and, though they created a wall of sound during many songs, Chicago is versatile enough to play in all kinds of configurations. Many times, several members left the stage to allow for one or a few members play a song.

Scheff performed “Will You Still Love Me” solo on keys, Lamm performed “Another Rainy Day in New York City” with only guitar and percussion and Lou Pardini performed “Look Away.”

Slow songs such those mentioned above had many swaying and singing their lungs out. Near their camp chairs and standing down by the stage, many slow danced with their dates during the old songs and danced like Al Czervik from “Caddyshack” during the up-tempo stuff.

The only thing missing was a disco ball.

Popular songs such as “You’re the Inspiration” got a huge reaction from the crowd. Near the end of the set, the band played “Saturday in the Park,” the perfect summer song, and fans went wild again.

They added to the noise by singing, stomping their feet and, as one ingenious man did, clanking two empty beer cans together to the beat.

Singing from the audience blared almost as loud as the horns throughout the whole set, including songs on the lower end of Chicago’s popularity chart.
“You’re beautiful singers. We can hear you,” Lamm said. “We’re here with just a crazy audience. We love you.”

The nostalgia was riding high, and I got stopped more than once asking if I was old enough to enjoy the band, whose biggest hits came in the ’70s and early ’80s.

The huge audience was having a blast while the band played its songs, and the band was smiling and laughing through the show, too.

After a short break, the band came back to close the show with two of its most energetic songs.

The first was “Free,” and the audience cheered as a 20-foot-tall American flag unfurled behind the group.

Chicago’s finale came with the rocker “25 or 6 to 4,” which had the3,800 there swaying and dancing — and, once again, singing — until the very end.

Contact the writer: Kevin Coffey

kevin.coffey@owh.com    |   402-444-1557    |  

Kevin covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally covers other entertainment, including video games and comic books.

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