(NOTE: I consider myself a good writer, but good only gets better by practice. So I’ve signed up for the WordPress Everyday Inspiration schedule to prompt me to write something different every day. This is the result of today’s nudge.)
So there we were. We just found our seats, which were off to the side of the theater, just about the only ones in this section. We were directly to the right as you’re looking at the stage, with a pretty sharp angle view of it. What was awesome was that there was no one behind us and we knew that meant we’d be able to dance and be crazy because if we were in the middle of the crowd, which was older and more subdued that was going to be off-limits. So yay us.
As soon as the lights came down we were on our feet and whooping and hollering. Immediately everyone in the regular seats starts looking at us. Not only were we pulling the average age of the crowd down by about 20 years but we were the only ones not just sitting and clapping politely. I mean come on, the band was about to come out. Let’s get excited, people.
So the band comes out and we just keep things going. From the moment “Introduction” starts and Jimmy Pankow is jumping up and down with his trombone and the band is on fire, we’re singing along, we’re dancing, we’re air-guitaring and all that. At one point – and this may just be my memory giving us more credit than we deserve here – I swear Jason Scheff turns to Robert Lamm and then points over to us like “Look at these guys.” Which of course has us just getting more crazy because they noticed us and that’s kind of cool.
All the time the rest of the crowd is just looking at us and pointing and staring. I mean sure, we were getting excited, but we kind of felt like everyone else was acting like we were monkeys flinging feces in the cage. It’s not our fault, though, if you can’t get excited to go see a good band. And keep in mind this is 1994, when Chicago was still at the height of their powers. This was after the “Stone of Sisyphus” incident but before they stopped putting out new records regularly. Dwayne Bailey was still with the band, but I think this was his last tour. They played more newer stuff – meaning songs from after 1976 – including a version of “You’re Not Along” from 19 that was kicked up a couple notches and faster than it is on the record.
We were exhausted by the end of the show. The band was kicking that night and it was just awesome. It was the first time I’d seen them in a venue that small and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. If they ever want to mine their archives for a classic live album, that’s the show I want them to put out.