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06/14/2003 Entry: "Chicago, last night's gig, tonight's night off"

Chicago. Two big thumbs up for this concert, people! What a show. When we first got there, the band was all set up. "Chicago" was proudly displayed on the bass drum. Well, no opening act I guess. There was no curtain, either. Everything was in plain view. No real stage set-up to speak of. Just a riser with exposed 2X4, and a couple of cut out fingers of flame looking thingys. The band was announced with stage lights up--they just walked out on stage as their names were read. It was par for the stage show course--there was none to speak of the entire evening.

But there was music! Plenty of it, too. They played almost 2 hours. The played all the big hits you could think of. They played 80s hits I'd forgotten about. They played "Make Me Smile" like right off the album. If you're not familiar with Chicago, they did what many rock/fusion/prog bands did, and ran whole sides of records together with segues between tunes. Think BS&T, or Moody Blues, or side 2 of Abbey Road. They played "Make Me Smile" like that, with all the interludes, and with "Color My World" right in the middle of it. Very cool.

Musicianship was aplenty at the show. The three person horn section are all original members. And boy can they make three horns sound like a big band. I was very impressed with the trumpet player. Trumpet takes a lot of air to blow those high notes. As trumpeters get older, it gets harder to reach the high notes. Physically, it's just harder. This guy hit them all, just like on the record, and just as cleanly. The bass player sounds just like Peter Cetera. (Peter was the original bass player, and left the band in the 80s to pursue a solo career.) He sang so well, you with eyes closed, you'd hardly know it wasn't Mr. Cetera. The horns and one keyboardist are original members. The other keyboardist (they have two!) and drummer have been with the band since the mid 80s, I think, so though they're not original, they've been with the band almost 20 years. And they were one tight unit. The only mistakes I caught were the trumpet player was signing "Wishing You Were Here," and forgot the opening line. In my book, no big deal. (Why just last night, Blind Al called a tune that we don't play regularly. When we do play it, he starts it. Last night, he asked me to start it so he could tune his guitar. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the feel of the tune--and I helped write it!) Also, the guitar player hit a chord change one bar too early once. Unless you were a musician, you wouldn't have caught it.
And speaking of last night... We played a benefit gig for the DAV. There was hardly anyone there. We then found out that the local American Legion was holding an auction for the Rockland Veterans Memorial. I guess all the vets were there. Everyone donated their time so the vets could have all the scratch. The take? $83. Thanks to my buddy Jim and his sister Carol for coming out.

Then there was a band after us. They had the same kinda crowd, which was none. Some interesting things about them: the girlfriends/spouses of two members came, and helped lug equipment! The drummer's girl even helped him set up! Those days are gone for me! Susan can only see me play so many times, and she saw me play A BUNCH in the early 90s with my band "The Draw." She was at every gig, and most rehearsals.

Also, the drummer last night needs a lesson in tuning. Yuck! Bass drum tuned way too high. Toms tuned too high too. But the band itself was ok. Guitar player had a good voice.
I've got the night off tonight. I'd like to do something with the fam. What would you suggest? I said to Camshaft "I've got the night off. What should I do?"

He said "Enjoy it."

I told him I was looking for something a little more specific.

Replies: 1 person has rocked the mic!

Just for the record-- I don't go to many gigs anymore because around the same time you joined Blind Albert we got married, which meant more responsibilities, we had a home to take care of & I was working a regular 9-5 job & finishing up my B.A. Then almost 5 years ago we had a baby. So, it's not your drumming I can only take so much of, it's that life is very different now than when we were in college.

Posted by beloved @ 06/16/2003 08:38 AM EST

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