Better Than Chicago

What was the last live performance you saw?
Jet Pack Prompt 5/11/23

I’ve been a huge fan of the rock band Chicago ever since my college days over fifty years ago. After all, I play the trombone and have long admired their infusion of sheer horn talent as a featured element of so many of their songs. You might even say that tunes like “Beginnings”, “Feeling Stronger Everyday” and “Dialogue” from their large musical repertoire strongly affect me emotionally to this very day.

So that raises the issue of tribute bands who attempt to emulate the trademark Chicago Band sound today. Some depict them as a flashy Vegas act involving short version “singalongs” of their early hit glory, while others hone in on their later love song era when the horn section seemed to be disappointedly gone. I’m imagining then that Terry Kath, their original lead guitarist who tragically died during the band’s heyday is laughing in heaven unmercifully about these cheap Chicago imitations.

So that brings up the matter of our last live concert attended featuring the Tribute band called “Leonid and Friends.” With little doubt in my mind, this enthusiastic group of primarily Russian musicians put on a masterful musical show of Chicago tunes in my my opinion much better than those pseudo Chicago band acts mentioned before. . For these were no “old guys”  living again the dream of Chicago’s long ago past but accomplished younger performers who infused the Chicago brand of fresh performance energy creatively now.

Thus I considered during this wonderful Leonid “gig” the musical director’s youthful son Roman who would race on stage to enthusiastically introduce the band before they arrived on stage. Or I would notice the stunning presence of their female singer, Ksenia, who wowed the audience with her captivating voice and persona.  But of greatest interest to me this night seemed to be how Leonid and Friends simply outplayed the original Chicago band as the wildly enthusiastic crowd responded to their exceptional musical talents. We’ll be most certainly looking for them again on tour during our upcoming road trip travels. Have a listen of them if you like. Click on the link below.

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