...coming from the top of a hill are always a treat for me. Especially when it is a nice warm night and I need to relax after a long afternoon interview.
Yes, the annual pilgrimage to the top of the mountain to see Chicago happened again this year. Thankfully they had a new opener because the last guy was starting to get on my nerves. They've had the same local musician for the last couple of shows and he hadn't produced any new material. This time they had a comedian. If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing Brian Copeland's routines, you should. I did long ago when I was in college, and it was an amazing surprise to see him again (without a cover charge).
While he was performing, Keith Howland (electric guitar) was out at the side working on something. I *almost* walked over just to hear, knowing that I would get stopped by the event staff lady standing there so I didn't, but I really wanted to. Half the time Copeland was performing I was just staring off to the side watching Keith. He's not bad too look at either.
Anyway, this year was the 40th anniversary tour and surprises were supposed to be in store. And there were. There was the guy they acknowledged there as attending his 101st Chicago concert (I think I'm only up to 20 now since I only go once a year, twice long ago when tickets were cheaper and I lived just a half hour away from the once Concord Pavilion). That was kind of neat and unexpected. The biggest surprise is that they *didn't* perform "90 Degrees and Freezing" for this late summer leg of the tour even though I heard they'd worked it in on the double tour with America. That was disappointing. And they didn't play "Old Days" which is another regular for them - that too was a surprise and I think a bit of disappointment for DH as he rather likes that song.
On the upside they started out with "Introduction" which was dusted off for the first time in ages, and they used to start shows with that instead of with "Beginnings". That led to one of my favorites of all time: "Questions 67 & 68". I won't bore you with the rest of the setlist, except to say that my favorite guy was up there and his performance on that Hammond B3 and on a long guitar solo were fabulous! I was in absolute awe and happiness to see him play like that.
Makes me wish I had tickets to see his other band in a couple of weeks - he's a local boy who done real good.
So I've mentioned the band and the comedian, but that wasn't all there was to the show. Most years we do really well with our seats and this year is no exception. The people around us are usually pleasant to be around and are as enthusiastic as we are to get up and dance, clap and sing along. And then there were the people in front of us this year. A set of 4, two men and two women. Clearly one of the guys and his date had been drinking. They weren't loud or sloppy. They were very very happy people. So I guess if you have to be around folks who have clearly been drinking, those who are happy and having a good time of it would be the ones you'd want to hang with.
Except when the woman stands for almost the entire show and dances in her pretty sundress, and the sloppy looking guy (droopy mustache, rest of the face unshaven, sloppy plaid shirt, uncombed curly hair and he could stand to lose about half a person) is running his hands all over the woman as she dances. Mostly on her rear end, which is at your eye level if you're looking straight ahead.
And then there were the two kids that somehow managed to get two seats at the very front of the stage by themselves while their parents were sitting further back in the rows. Those kids were almost obnoxious with holding up Chicago shirts while the band was playing. They were about B's age, and it's clear that they were enjoying themselves, but it was a little odd.
No, either of these two groups didn't obscure my view and that was good. I commented to DH that I didn't know that there was going to be a floor show in addition to the comedian and the band. I'll admit that they were kind of entertaining, until the guy almost fell over when he was getting off the bleachers that we were sitting on (they're nice wood bleachers built into the side of the amphitheater on the right side of the stage and I get tickets there every year because they're such good seats). It could have been bloody if the other guy hadn't caught his shoulder.
So there you have it - the adventures on the mountain for the year. Nothing else stands out although I'm sure after DH reads this he'll remind me of something that I've forgotten to mention. And I know it's not as glowing a review as past years, but there's only so much I can say after all this time. The combo was great, the audio mix was a little different (and only bad when it was drowning out vocals, which happened a couple of obvious times). They were more engaging in having the audience sing - that was kind of interesting. Jason had us singing "Just You and Me" by leading the audience with the lyrics. I commented out loud "As if anyone here needs to be prompted with the lyrics" and the guy next to me on the other side laughed and agreed. We all knew them, knew the inflections to the originals...
...but it made for a nice sing-along anyway.