Stranded’s Awesome: Only The Beginning

It was late summer of 1987.  My brother and I were wandering the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition with tickets in hand for the evening concert at Exhibition Stadium…the original home of the Toronto Blue Jays, for those playing along at home.  We made our way into the stadium and found our seats as the sun began to vanish over the south bleachers that were behind the movable stage.  Our seats were, roughly, half way up the northern bleachers.

That evening, we had a rather famous band…a band known for horns and rock (and some recent ballads, but we’ll forgive on those)…a band known for a logo with writing stolen from the Coca Cola bottles…

The sun continued to drop…the lights went down…and then this:

James Pankow

I have seen the band Chicagoperform 13 other times since that evening.  Obviously, the vid above was a retake on one of their more classic hits…was the only show that I recall them playing that particular version of the tune, actually.

Robert Lamm

The band always appealed to me because of the horn section…being I was a high school trombone player myself…Walter Parazaider on flute and saxophone, Lee Loughnane on trumpet, and James Pankow on trombone.  The other two original members that night were keyboardist and vocalist Robert Lamm, and drummer Danny Seraphine.  Not so original members Bill Champlin (keyboard and vocal) and Dewayne Bailey (guitar) were also up there.  This was the first time Chicago toured after splitting ways with original lead singer and bassist, Peter Cetera having only replaced him prior to recording Chicago 18 in 1986 with Jason Scheff.

Jason Scheff

In 2008, Chicago released Chicago XXXII:  Stone of Sisyphus…which was originally recorded for release as Chicago XXII in 1994 but due to a marketing snafu, was rejected by the record company at the time.

Bill Champlin

The last time I saw them perform at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario in the spring of 2009…only two originals were on stage…Robert Lamm and Lee Loughnane.  This was the last tour I would see Bill Champlin perform at, as well, as he has since departed the band.

Lee Loughnane

So…February 2012 will mark the first time since the 1980s that I will get to see the band perform in Toronto…they always have played outlying concert theatres and casinos…but this year they return to hallowed Massey Hallright downtown Toronto.  Seems I have a date, too, as I will have my 12 year old daughter along for the ride.

Walt Parazaider

Maybe, more so than the above video, this version will ring a bell…and just for fun, I will schedule this entry to post at 25…or 26 minutes to 4.

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