Chicago and the Doobie Brothers take it to the streets this summer.
“I’M INVESTED IN GETTING PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR SEATS AND ROCKING.” —TOM JOHNSTON
Do your summer plans involve playing shows for tens of thousands of people at amphitheaters across the US? And have you been doing that kind of thing for 50 years straight? No? Then you must not be a member of the seminal rock band Chicago.
“Those 50 years went by rather quickly,” laughs keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Robert Lamm, who cofounded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group in 1967, penning such enduring, sing-along classics as “25 or 6 to 4” and “Saturday in the Park.” Fronted by new lead singer and bassist Jeff Coffey, who sings the old Peter Cetera/jason Scheff tunes (“Jeff’s a more intense version of his predecessors,” says Lamm), Chicago is joined on the road by old friends the Doobie Brothers, of “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove” fame.
“We love playing to a crowd and interacting,” says Doobies cofounder/guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston. “And these outdoor shows have a festive atmosphere— I’m invested in getting people out of their seats and rocking.”
Each band has a catalog of songs that’s five decades deep, so will you hear your faves? “The chestnuts are there,” reveals Johnston. “Those four or five songs that we always play. But there are also deep album cuts that we haven’t played in years.” Lamm adds, “It would take us many hours to play all our hits.” With 21 top-10 singles and 36 albums (25 of them certified platinum), he’s not kidding. “We can interchange them and still make two hours of popular songs. It’s a blessing.” June 30, Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre at the South Florida Fairgrounds, West Palm Beach; livenation.com
For Chicago, touring is a hard habit to break. “Retire? And do what?” asks Robert Lamm (Ɯƞƨƭƞƫ . “What’s better than being in a rock band?” The group hasn’t missed a year on the road since 1967; their first show with current tour buddies the Doobie Brothers, ƛƞƥƨư with Tom Johnston at center was in 1973.