NJPAC, Newark, NJ

NJ Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ
April 16, 2019
Photographs & Review By Estelle Massry
Who doesn't love Chicago!? 

Chicago released their first album 50 years ago and then took the world by storm. They were the first band to really include Horns as an integral part of the band. They sold over 100 million records, won every award possible, were elected to every possible Hall of Fame, and made some incredible music. 

Chicago is in NJ tonight at the beautiful Performing Arts Center in Newark. It's a sold out crowd of all ages and sizes. Each fan is here tonight with a song in mind that they are waiting to hear, a memory they are hoping to recall. Chicago was there for all of us throughout our lives. Chicago made the music of a generation. The soundtrack to our lives. 

For over 50 years, the band has been going strong and 3 original members remain: Robert Lamm on Keyboards and Vocals, Lee Loughnane on Trumpet and Flugelhorn and James Pankow on Trombone. 

I love the anticipation as the band is about to take the stage. What song are they going to open up with? What will they be wearing? The lights, the sounds, there is nothing in the world like live music!
Chicago opens up with the funky jazzy "Introduction" and then go into "Questions 67 & 68". The band sounds amazing. They are so tight, The horns are alive and fill up the theater. 
The beauty of Chicago is that every band member gets to shine. it's a true band in every sense of the word. They share vocals, solos, songwriting and a lot of smiles. These guys are having fun up there. 
These guys could phone it in and rest on their laurels by now, but no way! They give it their all and perform 30 songs over the course of the evening. They play a great mix of all the hits and some deep tracks.  

The band runs through the latin infused "Call On Me", the killer "Make Me Smile", the beautiful "If You Leave Me Now" and of course the number one prom song of all time "Colour My World". I see couples slow dancing and it warms my heart. Love is in the air. 

Classic after classic. "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is", my favorite, "Old Days", "Beginnings" and the rocking "I'm a Man". The band is in full force now and Drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and percussionist Ramon Ysla share thunderous solos to the audience's delight. 
They close the show with more mega classics, "Just You n Me", "Saturday in the Park", and "Feelin' Stronger Everyday". The encore is "25 or 6 to 4", one of the most famous riffs in Rock n Roll. Guitarist Keith Howland has some big shoes to fill, as original guitarist Terry Kath, was once referred to as better than Jimi Hendrix, by Hendrix himself. Howland nails it and the crowd loves it. The vocal harmonies are amazing. 

It was quite a performance, everything was perfect. 50 years, 30 songs, 1 million memories. Thank you gentlemen. It was a pleasure. 
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