Saturday, December 4, 2010
'Rebel' Rod's Ramblings and other things - Chicago's "Saturday in the Park"
By 'Rebel' Rod Ames
Way back in the dark ages (as my 16 year old would put it), and I am referring to circa 1969-70, so as far as music is concerned, he is so sadly mistaking. Those were some great years for music.
I had been turned on to a band out of the windy city, named for the city's transportation department. They were know then as The Chicago Transit Authority or CTA. That was a mouthful, so by the time their 2nd album was released they dropped everything save for the name of their town and were forever known as Chicago.
The band consisted of an array of amazingly talented musicians consisting of Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Walter Parazaider, Terry Kath, Peter Cetera, and Danny Seraphine.
Over the years the band member's changed, but these were the originals, and once Mr. Kath was lost to tragedy, I was quick to discover he was a large part of the heart of the band. His guitar playing was a huge factor all by itself, but for me it was that very bluesy voice that was missed more than anything else. He was copied by everyone back then. What is it they say; "imitation is the highest form of flattery", or something to that effect.
The band's first two albums will always be their best as far as I'm concerned but albums 3 and 4 weren't to shabby either. They put out a 4 record live set as well. Guess who was one of the first in line for that one.
I knew their live album was going to be great, because I had seen the band live back in 1970 at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas. The Youngbloods, featuring Jesse Colin Young opened for them. That in itself was worth the full price of the admission, but I was not prepared for what I was about to see.
Chicago came out and virtually blew the roof off the place. The crowd went completely insane, and not one person ever sat down. Terry Kath simply stated, "here's a song from our upcoming album!", then flew into the nearly 13 minute "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" written by James Pankow. This amazing tune actually consisted of a set of seven tunes, including,"Make Me Smile", "So Much to Say, So Much to Give", "Anxiety's Moment", "West Virgina Fantasies", "Colour My World", "To Be Free", and "Now More Than Ever".
This was an unforgettable moment for me. In reality, it seem as though it were yesterday. I literally can remember every single moment of that evening. Even the Viet Nam War protest going on out in front of the venue. My Father had dropped my friend, Tim Reily, and myself off. He was not too happy to see what was going on outside the place when he arrived to pick us up!
That was the afterward though.
The magic had occurred inside the venue. I didn't really realize just how magical it had been until just this moment, when all of the details of the evening rushed back into this 57 year old brain of mine.
That's enough out of me though. Here is Saturday's song, Chicago's "Saturday in the Park"
Posted by 'Rebel' Rod at 6:30 AM