One of America’s greatest and biggest-selling bands, Chicago, played the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks, CA on Sunday night after a week-long Vegas residency at the Venetian, to which they return on Feb. 20. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers celebrated their 50th anniversary two years ago and they still haven’t slowed down. The band has released 23 gold, 18 platinum and 8 multi-platinum selling albums. Chicago’s show was broken into two sets with a 20-minute intermission between the two. One of the the best things about seeing Chicago perform is how the group can play fast-paced songs with a lot of energy like “Alive Again,” “Street Player” and “I’m A Man,” featuring unforgettable drum/percussion solos from Walfredo Reyes Jr. and Ramon Yslas and then slow it down for “You’re The Inspiration,” “Just You N’ Me” and “If You Leave Me Now.” The crowd sang along to each and every song in a set list of around 30 numbers. Joining Chicago throughout the show was The CoverGirls, a 5 piece female violin group who have been playing with Chicago in Las Vegas. This year they celebrate their 10th anniversary.
Chicago has had many lineup changes over the years. Robert Lamm (vocals/keys/guitar), Jimmy Pankow (trombone) and Lee Loughnane (trumpet) are the only founding members to remain with the group. The band also consists of Keith Howland, their guitarist of 25 years, keyboardist/vocalist Lou Pardini who replaced Bill Champlin in 2009, Saxophonist Ray Hermann who replaced founding member Walter Parazaider when he retired from touring in 2016, and their newest members Bassist Brett Simons and Vocalist Neil Donell who cover Peter Cetera’s bass and vocal parts. Reyes Jr. moved from percussion to drums in 2018 and his brother Daniel Del Los Reyes took over percussion duties until he returned to the Zac Brown Band and was replaced by Yslas.
Typically Chicago plays smaller venues at the beginning of the year and comes back in the summer to play arenas or amphitheaters with bands like REO Speedwagon, The Doobie Brothers, and Earth Wind and Fire. Chicago’s music is timeless and will continue to attract audiences as long as they stay on the road.
Chicago returns to Southern California this summer with stops at
July 24 - Vina Robles Amphitheater
July 26 - OC Fair
July 27 - Greek Theatre