Pixel Tracker

Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 7:51 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Karen Telleen-Lawton: Music for All Time Plays On

The sounds of the band Chicago have staying power

A couple of weeks ago, Chicago (the band) played at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. When I arrived and began to notice the average age of the attendees, I found that it had grown later than I thought. My impression was not dispelled when the band members came onstage. But when the music began, everyone in the audience was carried back 30-something years to our own best “Saturday In the Park.”

Karen Telleen-Lawton
Karen Telleen-Lawton

Chicago’s repertoire includes good songs rich with horns, upbeat notes, good lyrics and a great beat. It embodies the zeitgeist not of a particular decade such as the 1970s, but of a period of life — that spirited, intense and unforgettable time when everything was possible.

Each number the band performed swept the receptive audience. Soon, many were standing, swaying in their seats or keeping beat with the drummers. I admit I was singing along with the vocalists, but the music was so loud that I could karaoke unobtrusively.

There is something about the “horns” (trumpet, trombone and saxophone) that evoke in me a feeling of pure joy. When we arrived, we were tired from a long day, but the energy of the songs was such that soon we were “Feelin’ Stronger Every ...” song. I believe it’s that joyful sound that is directly involved in Chicago’s staying power.

According to its Web site, Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in five consecutive decades. Billboard Magazine’s recent list of Top 100 artists of all-time puts Chicago at No. 13, the highest of a U.S. band. Its record sales top the 100 million mark, including 21 Top 10 singles, five consecutive No. 1 albums, 11 No. 1 singles and five Gold singles.

The group’s “Beginnings” were in Chicago, not surprisingly, in 1967. The pre-eminent dream for Walter Parazaider, Terry Kath, Danny Seraphine, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Robert Lamm and Peter Cetera was to integrate all the musical diversity in Chicago into a new sound: a rock band centering on horns. Parazaider trained classically and pursued both genres for a while, but rock-and-roll won out when he realized he didn’t have the patience for a teaching career.

The tour lineup included Parazaider on woodwinds and other originals, Lamm on keyboards and vocals, Loughnane playing trumpet and Pankow on trombone. Newer members were Jason Scheff with bass and vocals, Tris Imboden on drums, Keith Howland playing guitar, Lou Pardini on keyboards and vocals, and Drew Hester on percussion. Mosh pit revelers enjoyed occasional run-by hand grabs from band members.

The audience included not only grown-up “hippies,” but the hippies’ grown-up children as well, some of whom had brought their parents for a grand oldies performance. I met Eric Holmes, a programmer from The Sound, 100.3 FM, who sat next to me and introduced his parents, visiting from Ohio. Holmes attends many concerts as part of his work and keeps a glass jar of neon orange earplugs on his desk. He graciously gave us some, which increased our enjoyment considerably.

Holmes deemed the show a medley of great vocal arrangements and brass.

“I knew a couple of the big hits going into the show, but ... Chicago hasn’t had the long-lasting effect on my peers as bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles have,” he said. “The vocals were pretty right on, and the entire band could sing. It was really nice to see a band that uses real instruments.”

Holmes doubts that Chicago would have made it in today’s music environment, but added, “It was a great night out with my parents that I’ll never forget.”

Sustainable music for all time.

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations supporting sustainability. Graze her writing and excerpts from Canyon Voices: The Nature of Rattlesnake Canyon at www.CanyonVoices.com.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.