Chicago, as it seems, likes company.
In recent years, the veteran brass-rock outfit has made a habit of pairing itself with other hitmakers, such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Huey Lewis & the News. This year the group is on the road with the Doobie Brothers, which it also played shows with in the ’70s, and trumpet player Lee Loughnane says the collaboration is equalling if not bettering Chicago’s other experiences.
“The songs are strong as it is,” Loughnane, 61, says, “but when both bands get together on stage it creates an excitement that sort of doubles the impact of the songs.” That happens mostly during the encore, when both groups are together on stage playing three songs from each of their catalogs.
“I think it’s something we can offer both of our audiences that they don’t normally get to hear,” says Loughnane, who expects the Chicago-Doobie Brothers combo to tour again next year and possibly shoot a DVD along the way. “The way we do this, people can listen to the stuff they’re used to hearing, the hits, and have another band on so they’re listening to a band they’ve also enjoyed but might not have been their favorite.
“And both bands combined takes it into a different stratosphere, and I think both bands gain more fans in that way.”
This year Chicago is also offering something else many of its fans have never heard — “Stone of Sisyphus,” an ambitious album the group recorded in 1993 that was rejected by its record company at the time and languished in the vaults until its release earlier this week. The album also led Chicago to leave Warner Bros. Records.
Loughnane says the initial rejection hurt, but he feels Chicago is having the last laugh.
“We moved on with our career,” he says, “and we’re still here now, able to record and play live shows, and people come to see us and there’s still excitement over the music. And we’re in a position where it’s possible to release the only project we did that was never released.
“So, you know, anything can happen. It might look like we were way head of our time or something,” he adds with a laugh.
Chicago, the Doobie Brothers and Nicola Congiu perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (June 21) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $67.50 and $39.50 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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