Chicago continues to be one of America’s most loved and successful rock bands since forming in 1967. The longevity of Chicago’s 55-year recording career endures the test of time, evolving throughout five decades of recording. Speaking of decades, lets talk numbers. Chicago has recorded a whopping 37 albums, sold over 100 million records and are one of the longest-running and best-selling music groups of all time. That alone is quite extraordinary!
The band has named itself The Big Thing, The Chicago Transit Authority and, since 1970, officially became our beloved Chicago. The band has also had a slew of different members, including Peter Cetera, who left the band in 1985 to start his solo career. They have further collaborated with many well-known artists on some of their most familiar songs.
Chicago has released 20 Top 10 pop and 22 Top 10 adult contemporary singles — 15 of which broke the Top 10 on both charts! Chicago is the only band whose Top 10 singles have been on the Billboard charts for five decades straight. 17 of their first 20 albums were certified platinum, nine of those multiplatinum and Chicago 17 (circa 1984) hit platinum six times. Chicago was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 and received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. All of this just confirms how stupendous they are, having been recognized by the most respected organizations in entertainment.
With all that wheeling in my mind, I stepped foot inside the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks, ready to be dazzled by Chicago live!
What is unique about the Chicago is how many band members there are and the various instruments they use. The tour has 10 people and between these 10, they are skilled in keyboard, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, horn arranger, saxophone, flute, clarinet, drums, guitar, bass and percussion. They have so much talent and to be able to unite this many people and all these instruments and all the vocals together is remarkable. I think it’s safe to say, in today’s world, Chicago is the only band in their genre who applies this many instruments and the person playing the instrument is an actual band member. In other words, bands typically bring in outside musicians to play a specific instrument. Chicago truly is a band built of composers and songwriters.
Chicago’s concert will bring you back to the past, which is obvious by the elderly age of people at the concert. Yes, I did just say that and, yes, I was one of those older people in the crowd! You will really enjoy the exuberant evening as you sing along to their songs, so get yourself to this concert! I want to give a shoutout to the adorable George Lopez and his four amusing friends who sat next me — guys, meeting you, dancing and laughing with you was icing on the cake!
Photography by Stacey Shorr