Still Going Strong

I caught Chicago in concert this past weekend. Let that sink in for a moment. These guys, who were on the cutting edge of progressive rock-jazz fusion in the early 1970s are still going strong in 2019. They’ve had ups and downs, but their powerful horn section sounds as good as ever as they burn through two hours of 1970s hits.

I’m trying to catch all the old acts while you still can. In recent years, I’ve seen Paul McCartney, The Doobie Brothers, Glen Campbell, Gordon Lightfoot, Brian Wilson, The Rolling Stones, the Eagles and Bob Dylan. Now I can add Chicago to the list.

Get It While You Can

Janis Joplin released a tune called “Get it While You Can” back in the late 1960s. In a way, that’s a good philosophy on life. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So, make something of today while you still can.

I looked around the crowd at the Chicago concert and saw lots of gray hair. Nobody was acting crazy. No hippies. The band members’ trademark long hair from the 70s is long gone. Jimmy Pankow and Lee Loughnane, the two remaining horn players from the original group, looked like they could be president of your local chamber of commerce. Keyboardist Robert Lamm sported a cool jeans type outfit and a respectable haircut. As a keyboard player myself, I hope to be still going strong if I’m blessed with life into my seventies.

Pankow and Lamm did most of the talking and graciously seemed to appreciate the local folks coming out to hear their music after all these years. Loughnane provided sentimental lead vocals on Colour My World.

A couple of faces are keenly missed in the Chicago lineup. Bassist/vocalist/songwriter Peter Cetera has been long gone from Chicago. Seems some old wounds don’t always totally heal. The late Terry Kath, said by many to be the soul of Chicago, died way back in 1978 and in my humble opinion, the band was never the same without his raw guitar and vocals.

Make the Best of Your Situation

Here’s my takeaway from hearing Chicago take me down memory lane one more time. Make the best of your situation. Chicago today isn’t the Chicago of 1975. Some have gone and other band members have replaced them. Still, it’s money well spent to see their dandy good show. They still have pride in their work and sound great.

Just like Chicago, I can’t go back to 1975 either. Can’t be 14 years old again, with moppy brown hair and my whole life ahead. My parents and brother are deceased now. I’d do some things differently if I could go back and live my younger days over again. But that’s not how life works. You don’t get yesterday over again. You get today with the opportunity to make the best of it.

Remember the “old days, good times I remember” as Jimmy Pankow worded it in Old Days, perhaps my favorite Chicago song. But this Saturday, grab someone you love and head to the park. Make the best of what life gives you. That way, when you meet someone you haven’t seen in a while, they’ll look at you and say “that old gray headed dude is still going strong!”

Leave a Reply