TicketMOMster review: Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire (EW&F) @ MTS Centre
I’m going to do something a little different with this review. I’m going to tell you what I thought of the show right away and then you can decide if you want to read any further. Your time is important and there’s no point wasting it if you’re looking for something you might not find here.
The show didn’t really reach me.
My opinion is definitely in the minority. The audience’s comments on the way out included: “Was that ever good!” and “My throat hurts from screaming!” Personally, I didn’t feel it.
Part of the problem is I have no history with either band. Months ago, my Husband questioned why I was going to this show and proceeded to quiz me to find out if I knew any songs by either band. I blurted out “September!” and he dropped the conversation. Thank God, because that’s the ONLY song I know from either band.
My musical journey includes no research; or at least very little research. Basically, I’m paying for that rush of the unexpected. I’m looking to be blown away and “research” tends to dull that. So as long as I’m paying for my own concert tickets, I’m going in blind. I don’t know what to expect and most of the time I discover I know more than I thought I did.
When I got to the arena, I was ready for some classic Horn Rock. I discovered a huge stage with two drum kits and a whole bunch of percussion. Essentially, all the makings for a show I should have loved.
The beginning of the show was a bit overwhelming, but in a great way. Both bands took the stage and it was packed with musicians; visually, it was really cool. They performed three tunes together and then left the stage and Earth, Wind & Fire came back on by themselves for their set.
Verdine White’s funky groove got everyone up during “Boogie Wonderland”, but during the next two songs, everyone slowly sat down. I wondered if I should get some popcorn because I wasn’t really feeling what was going on.
Philip Bailey came on stage and performed a solo on a mbira (thumb piano). That was a first for me, I’ve never seen a mbira solo at MTS Centre. It was really dreamy and I liked it.
Next, the band asked the audience to stand and then they played a song that I didn’t recognize. It wasn’t very upbeat, but I stood up…to go to the washroom and get some popcorn.
The woman at the concession asked if I was enjoying the show and to her surprise I answered, “Not really, but I have popcorn now, so things are looking up.” She laughed.
While I was gone, I think they introduced the band. Did they talk about the World Series during that time too? Because I didn’t hear it and found it strange that two huge bands from Chicago didn’t mention the World Series. Maybe I missed it.
During the next few songs Philip displayed his huge vocal range and impressive falsetto. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a man scream that high before. It was worthy of a standing ovation, which he received graciously.
Earth, Wind & Fire ended their set with crowd favourite, “Let’s Groove”.
There was a 20 minute intermission and then Chicago started their set. I sat and thought about how much effort both bands were putting into this show and what a huge production it was. I really appreciated it, but they had played a whole bunch of songs and I didn’t connect to any of them. Do I really know that little about these bands?
Then they started playing a ballad and the girl in front of me recorded it and texted this to her friend: “When you finally know a song ha ha”. And suddenly, I felt much better. She was one up on me, but she was also just as lost as me.
The band thanked everyone who voted to get them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and I felt even worse. How do I not know any songs by a band in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
Then it happened. “Hard Habit to Break” was the first recognizable song for me and it made me sad. My Dad suddenly died a month ago and for some reason it reminded me of him. Probably the “being without you takes a lot of getting used to” part. Sigh…
Then it happened again! I knew “You’re The Inspiration”. Then it happened again! Ok, hold on here. I KNOW Chicago didn’t write “I’m A Man”, it was Spencer Davis Group and Steve Winwood sang it. Tricky… It was a good cover though, Chicago played it well.
“Hard To Say I’m Sorry” was followed by “Saturday in the Park”, which ended the set (I knew those ones too).
The lights went down and a bit of the audience left. Less than two minutes later, both bands were back on stage for their six song encore which included “September” and my favourite of the evening, the rockin’ “25 or 6 to 4”. I also knew that song, but I didn’t know it was a Chicago song.
The show ended at 11 p.m.
Remember this is a musical journey and not every show is going to reach me or be my favourite. Seriously, how boring would this blog be if it was? It doesn’t mean the shows aren’t good; more people will tell you this show was amazing, than won’t. But unless I dig back into Chicago and EW&F’s music catalogues and learn more about them, I probably won’t go to another one of their shows.
P.S. Don’t go away mad Chicago fans, while I was typing this review, your Cubs won the World Series. 🙂
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters