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America-Chicago Tour Long In Coming

Of the Oakland Press

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America’s tour with Chicago is long overdue.

The two groups shared time on radio playlists with their hits, particularly during the early and mid-’70s. And America’s Gerry Beckley joined forces with Chicago keyboardist Robert Lamm (and the late Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys) for the 2001 album “Like a Brother.” But, Beckley notes, America and Chicago have never actually hit the road together.

“It’s just one of those bizarre things,” Beckley, 54, says. “When you consider we’ve known each other for 35 years, we’ve done a grand total of two or three shows together before this. So we’ve been happy to talk each night on stage about how this is our firstever tour together. We’re having a great time with it.”

Beckley — who released a solo album, “Horizontal Fall,” in 2006 — and America partner Dewey Bunnell join Chicago during its set to provide extra harmonies for “Wishing You Were Here” and “Beginnings,” as well as America’s “You Can Do Magic.” But the duo also has new songs to perform thanks to “Here & Now,” the first America album of new songs since 1984. It was produced by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy) and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle) and features younger generation guests such as Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and members of Nada Surf and My Morning Jacket.

“I was aware of all these people,” Beckley says. “Once the door was open, quite a few people came up and wanted to be part of this, which was very flattering. They were all different and unique in their own artistic sense; the real challenge was to have it not be one of those duet projects and just use these contributors because they integrated with us so well.

“I think Adam and James really did a great job in that regard. It feels like an America album, not an ‘America and Friends’ album.”

Chicago and America perform at 8 p.m. Friday (June 29th) at DTE Energy Music Theater, Sashabaw Road north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $59.50 pavilion, $28 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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