Chicago is back on the road for its 56th consecutive year as a touring band. The band, which still includes co-founding members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, and James Pankow, plays tonight (May 10th) at La Crosse, Wisconsin’s La Crosse Center and as it stands now, will be on the road through November 11th when they wrap things up for the year at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Wind Creek Event Center
2022 saw the release of Chicago’s 38th studio album, Born For This Moment, along with the band’s documentary The Last Band On Stage, which chronicled the group dealing with life within and around the pandemic.
Keyboardist and songwriter Robert Lamm admitted that he’s under no illusions that Chicago of today is anything like Chicago in 1969 when the band’s late-guitarist Terry Kath was leading the charge: “That band, as short-lived as it was, (laughs) in the scheme of 40 years — that band was just an amazing band. And whatever Chicago is now, and whatever is called Chicago now, is not the Chicago that made those albums in the early ’70s. I haven’t heard anybody since that plays like that. I constantly struggle, and I constantly feel like I’m in a negotiation with the rest of the guys in the band nowadays to try to re-adopt the original attitudes that the original band had that Terry was such a driving force in.”
Trumpeter Lee Loughnane remains proud of how throughout the decades, Chicago has remained musically relevant: “The music business has completely changed, where even the major artists that are on top that used to sell millions and millions and millions; those millions have dwindled down to hundreds of thousands. So (laughs), all the numbers are completely different than they used to be, so it makes more sense — music will never die, but the way you record it must change in order for artists to survive.”
Trombonist James Pankow told us that upon forming in 1967, literally nobody in the group was even remotely thinking that this band would be spanning decades: “The intention of this thing was to put a band together that we really got off on, ’cause that was the initial feeling in the room, when we first heard the first note. And we said, ‘Hey, maybe we got something great here, y’know, a worthwhile endeavor. And maybe we’ll be able to make a record. Maybe two — maybe we’ll be around for a couple of years (laughs).'”