Thursday, September 3, 2009

Earth, Wind, & Fire/Chicago Concert

My friend Cindy and I attended the Earth, Wind, and Fire/Chicago Concert at the Great Allentown Fair in Allentown, PA last night. When they first came out onto the stage, both bands joined forces, and what a force their sound was. Each band has a fantastic brass and percussion section, so the sound was phenomenal. You could feel the music vibrate through you, and the energy on stage was explosive. The two bands did songs made popular by both, and I just loved "Beginnings" a Chicago original.

These two fantastic groups from my teen days combined for a summer tour, and recorded three tracks to be obtained by going to either band's official website to make a donation to fight against hunger in our own country. Here is a link to Earth, Wind, and Fire's site, the link to make a donation of three cans of food is on their home page.

Robert Lamm of Chicago joked that they flipped a coin, and that Earth, Wind, and Fire would take the stage first, and after intermission Chicago would return. I being a Chicago fan since 1969 was a little disappointed at first, but Earth, Wind, and Fire very quickly changed my mood.

I was blown away by their excellence in music, and their entertaining presence which is larger than life. Their sound was vibrating, and Philip Bailey's voice is perfection! His vocal range is unparalleled. I believe that when he hits the high notes he could shatter glass. Last night I became a fan of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and most especially of Philip Bailey.

Just when you thought their act had culminated, the stage lights went dark and three huge colorful drums appeared. Suddenly glowing drum sticks, and other glowing patterns appeared on stage, with a burst of soul moving drum beats thundered throughout the venue, as the audience roared with approval.

Earth, Wind, and Fire also were giving away a prize of a back stage meet and greet to cellphone users who could text a number appearing on the jumbo tron.

Then Chicago came out onto stage. Their sound was tremendous. They still have so much energy, especially the trombonist, Jimmy Pankow. He is still rockin like in 1971 when I saw Chicago for the first time at the now defunct Nazareth Speedway, in Nazareth, PA. After that concert we met up with the band at the side of the stage and Jimmy handed me a bottle of Schaefer Beer, which I still have to this day, as I did not drink alcohol. That concert was before the death of their late lead vocalist/guitarist Terry Kath whose rendition of "Color My World" was deeply moving.

While Chicago's music was on target, the vocals fell short, especially in "Color My World", no one does it as good as Terry Kath. Jason Sheff is pretty good, but no Peter Cetera. While the vocals were weak throughout, except for "Old Days" done by a newcomer to the band, Keith Howland who is also a guitarist.

All and all it was great to see them again, and worth the price of a ticket.

Chicago's website

A very special thank you to Kutztown University Radio for the comp. tickets!

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