Chicago's Robert Lamm and James Pankow to be Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

Singer-songwriter-instrumentalists Robert Lamm and James Pankow, either singly or in collaborations, were the chief songwriters of supergroup Chicago. Their enormously influential work helped pave the way for jazz-oriented rock. 

Robert Lamm has been with Chicago since the beginning.  Chicago’s first album Chicago Transit Authority, contained seven of his songs, “Beginnings,” “Poem 58,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?” “Questions 67 & 68,” “Listen,” “South California Purples,” and “Someday.” He continued writing for the band, throughout the 70’s and 80’s with hits, “25 or 6 to 4,” “Wake Up Sunshine,” “Dialogue,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Another Rainy Day in NYC,” and  “Getaway.”

James Pankow, trombonist, arranger and composer, was also one of the bands founding members.  As the band’s principal arranger, he created the trademark signature style of Chicago’s horns and composed many of their songs, including the hits “Make Me Smile”, “Colour My World,” “Just You ‘N' Me,” “Searchin’ So Long,” “Old Days,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” and “Alive Again.” One of his most recognized pieces is “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon,” which he wrote when he was 22-years-old. The band was constantly on the road and Pankow became drawn to Bach, whose technical perfection and melodic genius inspired him immeasurably. He began experimenting with arpeggios and the result was a key moment in the Ballet, “Colour My World.”

Chicago’s lifetime achievements include two Grammy Awards (one is for Chicago's first album, Chicago Transit Authority, which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2014), are Founding Artists of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles and 5 Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 36 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards. Chicago are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017, and are working on Chicago XXXVII.


Chicago’s Award-Winning Documentary Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago #1 in Sunday Night Ratings

Chicago’s award-winning documentary film, Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago premiered on CNN on New Year’s Day and ranked No. 1 among adults 25-54. This is per “Nielsen Fast National Time Period Based Data” for 1/1/17 from 8 PM -10 PM.

The documentary will encore on Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 PM, Eastern time.

Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is the most comprehensive history of the group’s achievements. The Peter Pardini directed film won its first award at the Sedona International Film Festival in February, 2016, winning the Film Festival’s Best of Fest Audience Choice Award. 

Additionally, it won three awards in April, 2016, at the 10th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, taking home top prizes in the Documentary and Audience Award categories. Pardini was awarded the festival’s Rising Star Award in direction and was on hand to accept all three awards. Earlier that month the documentary was the runner-up for Audience Award at the Sarasota Film Festival.

While the band were Executive Producers and financed the film, they had no involvement in the creative aspect or editing, as director Peter Pardini had final cut and sole creative control.

In a statement relayed by CNN, Pardini said, “From the beginning, Chicago’s manager told me to make the movie I wanted to make and not to listen to anyone else’s opinion. This is exactly what happened. At no point did anyone from the band or management sit in with me or tell me how to edit the movie and the band didn’t see the movie until it was done.”

2017 will mark the band’s 50th anniversary, having never missed a year of touring. Band founders Robert Lamm (keyboards and vocals), Lee Loughnane (trumpet and vocals), James Pankow (trombone), and Walt Parazaider (woodwinds) remain from the original crew, making Chicago America’s rock band with the most longevity in history.


Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago Premieres on CNN

The legendary rock and roll band with horns, CHICAGO, will have their award-winning documentary film, Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago premiere on CNN on New Year’s Day with limited commercial interruption. It will air on Sunday, Jan. 1 at 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM, Eastern time.

Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is the most comprehensive history of the group’s achievements. The Peter Pardini directed film won its first award at the Sedona International Film Festival in February, 2016, winning the Film Festival’s Best of Fest Audience Choice Award.  The band opened the festival with back-to-back sold-out performances.

Additionally, it won three awards in April, 2016, at the 10th Annual Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, taking home top prizes in the Documentary and Audience Award categories. Pardini was awarded the festival’s Rising Star Award in direction and was on hand to accept all three awards. 

Earlier that month the documentary was the runner-up for Audience Award at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Pardini’s unique unprecedented access yields deeply personal reflections of the band’s origins, successes, and struggles.  Pardini weaves archival and contemporary interviews, footage from the band’s DePaul University college days and tours, and contemporary interviews with band members and managers through the years to reveal Chicago’s chart-topping, pop culture iconic history through intimate layers.  Bandmates discuss their early days of peace rallies with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, as well as the stories behind their hit, 1969’s “Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?,” to “If You Leave Me Now,” to “You’re The Inspiration,” to “Saturday In The Park” and many more with colorful insights.

When the founding members of Chicago came together in 1967 with a shared goal—to blend the musical trends of their revered city into a brand-new style, they could not have anticipated that their cinematic big-band pop would propel them to stardom that includes more than one hundred million records sold, 36 albums, yearly tours, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016, two Grammy® award wins (including one for the band’s first album, Chicago Transit Authority, for the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 2014), 21 Top 10 singles, five consecutive No. 1 albums, an incredible 25 certified platinum albums, multiple American Music Awards, and countless other awards and honors.

2017 will mark the band’s 50th anniversary, having never missed a year of touring. Band founders Robert Lamm (keyboards and vocals), Lee Loughnane (trumpet and vocals), James Pankow (trombone), and Walt Parazaider (woodwinds) remain from the original crew, making Chicago America’s rock band with the most longevity in history.

In addition to the premiere broadcast, NOW MORE THAN EVER: The History of Chicago, will also stream live for subscribers via CNNgo beginning Jan. 1 (at www.CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for  AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and iPad).  The film will also be available the day after the premiere (Monday, Jan. 2) on demand via cable/satellite systems and CNNgo.  NOW MORE THAN EVER will also encore on CNN/U.S. on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 8:00pm and 10:00pm Eastern.

CNN will explore the band’s incredible music legacy through the experiences and reflections of their superfans in interactive pieces for CNN.com.  Video excerpts from the film, and photographs from Chicago’s tours, will also be available via CNN’s mobile platforms and online at www.CNN.com/history-of-chicago closer to the time of the broadcast premiere.  Viewers can interact with CNN Films about NOW MORE THAN EVER by using the hashtag #HistoryOfChicago via Twitter before and during the premiere.


Chicago & The Doobie Brothers Announce North American Summer Tour

Two of the most successful and critically-acclaimed rock bands Chicago and The Doobie Brothers – who have sold more than 150 million records combined – announced today their co-headline North American summer tour kicking off June 7, 2017 in Concord, CA. The 30+ date tour, promoted by Live Nation, will take the Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling groups through amphitheatres in major cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Toronto, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC for a night of unforgettable live music. The tour will conclude July 30, 2017 in Virginia Beach, VA.

“The perfect summer line-up, playing dozens of the best-loved rockin’ pop classics. I’m happy to be hangin’ out with our ‘Doobie’ friends… a great band,” said Robert Lamm of Chicago. “We’re excited to be touring with the Doobies again. I know we’ll have lots of fun,” adds Lee Loughnane. “Come see us in a city near you.”

"We are so excited to once again be sharing the stage with our wonderful friends Chicago! They're a great band, and musically we fit together very well,” said Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers. “We know from past experience what a great show this is going to be for the audience. I'm sure there will be some fun musical surprises along the way too. It's going to be a great summer," adds Patrick Simmons.

Hailed as one of the "most important bands in music since the dawn of the rock and roll era" by former President Bill Clinton, the legendary rock and roll band with horns, Chicago – who celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band this year and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 after receiving their first nomination – came in at #9, the highest charting American band in Billboard Magazine's Hot 200 All-Time Top Artists. And Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six decades. Chicago's album, Chicago Transit Authority, was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2014. Lifetime achievements include a Grammy Award, multiple American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Chicago street dedicated in their honor, and keys to and proclamations from an impressive list of US cities. Record sales top the 100,000,000 mark, and include 21 Top 10 singles, 5 consecutive Number One albums, 11 Number One singles and 5 Gold singles. An incredible 25 of their 36 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards. Chicago have toured every year since the beginning - they’ve never missed a year. The band is now in their 50th consecutive year of touring, and continue to be true ambassadors for their beloved hometown, carrying the city's name with pride and dignity around the world. The band’s award-winning documentary film, Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago, premiered on CNN on New Year’s Day 2017. Directed by Peter Pardini, the film is the most comprehensive history of the group’s achievements. Additionally, a remastered version of the band’s classic album Chicago II – CHICAGO II: STEVEN WILSON REMIX – will be available January 27.

The Doobie Brothers have been delivering mind-blowing, roots-based, harmony-laden, guitar-driven rock and roll for over four decades, selling more than 48 million albums and winning four GRAMMY® Awards. Their latest studio album, Southbound, features new recordings of the band’s biggest hits, with country music’s biggest stars including Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. Boasting one of the most loyal fan bases in music, the band continues to write and record new material and tour the world. Their No. 1 singles “Black Water” (1974) and “What a Fool Believes” (1979), both gold, lead a catalog of indelible songs that include “Listen To The Music,” “Jesus Is Just All Right,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove,” “Take Me In Your Arms,” Takin’ it to the Streets,” “Minute by Minute,” “You Belong to Me,” “The Doctor” and more. In all, the Doobies have tallied up five top 10 singles and 16 top 40 hits. Beginning with their multi-million-selling sophomore collection Toulouse Street (1972), the Doobies have 3 multi-platinum, 7 platinum and 14 Gold albums. Their Best of the Doobies (1976) has sold more than 12 million copies – a rare “diamond record.”

See Chicago's full tour schedule – including their joint tour with The Doobie Brothers HERE


Chicago ll: The Steven Wilson Remix

The Iconic Group’s Timeless Classic Has Been Remastered To Reveal Unprecedented Clarity And Definition – Available On CD From Rhino On January 27

More than 40 years after its debut, Chicago II still sounds like nothing else. Released in 1970, Chicago’s second album brims with confidence and inspiration as it draws on everything from orchestral music to heavy rock. Although it never affected the record’s popularity – it peaked at #4 on the album chart and spawned a trio of Top Ten hits — many fans have longed for a more-nuanced mix. That wish is about to come true with a new stereo version created by British musician and producer Steven Wilson.

CHICAGO II: STEVEN WILSON REMIX will be available January 27 on CD for $14.98. The newly remixed album will also be released as a double-LP set in 2017 for $31.98.

CHICAGO II has been remixed before, but never like this. For the first time, a stereo remix from the 16-track multi-track tapes made it possible for Steven Wilson to bring out elements that were muffled or submerged in the mix. The result is a new stereo version of CHICAGO II that boasts clearness, punch and definition that it didn’t have before.

Wilson explains: “Working with high-resolution 96K/24 bit digitally transferred files, I had every element from the recording sessions isolated, which meant I was able to rebuild the mix from the drums upwards, recreating as closely as I could the equalization, stereo placement, reverbs, other effects, and volume changes of each individual instrument or vocal — but at the same time looking to gain definition and clarity in the overall sound.”

In 1969, Chicago recorded the band’s follow-up to their debut album, Chicago Transit Authority (voted 2014 into the Grammy Hall of Fame). When it arrived in January 1970, CHICAGO II became an instant sensation. Principal composers, James Pankow and Robert Lamm, emerged further as the band’s source of Top Ten hits for the group, including “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World,” as well as “25 or 6 to 4,” which peaked at #4 and has become one of the band’s signature songs. Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, also Danny Seraphine and Peter Cetera … somehow found time (while touring the world behind the success of “CTA”) to prepare another double LP album.

“So rich was their creative seam at the time that, like their debut, and the album that followed this one, it was a two record set,” says Wilson. “In fact, with unprecedented boldness the run of double albums was only broken by their fourth which was a quadruple (live) set! I consider all of these albums to be classics, but perhaps Chicago II is the pre-eminent masterpiece. It’s got everything: moments of tender beauty to power riffs and scorched-earth jazz-rock, catchy melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies. When I first heard it as a teenager I was captivated by the mixture of jazz, blues, pop, classical, progressive and heavy rock styles, including both improvisational elements and intricate arrangements, and by songs written and sung by several different members, all with their own unique personality. How could that possibly hang together?! But it does, and brilliantly so.”

The album, which was certified platinum by the RIAA, soon after its release, also highlighted some of the band’s most ambitious work, such as the 13-minute song cycle “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon,” composed by James Pankow, as well as “Memories Of Love,” a Terry Kath song, arranged for orchestra by Peter Matz. Chicago’s lasting musical impact was recognized in April of 2016, with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For more information about CHICAGO, please contact Jessica Giordano in the Rhino Media Relations Department at jessica.giordano@rhino.com or 818-238-6403. Available for pre-order at http://smarturl.it/ChicagoIIRemix.


Chicago is Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

The statistics are simply staggering: Over a 46-year recording career, the band has issued 36 albums, sold well over 100 million records, and released 20 Top 10 pop and 22 Top 10 adult contemporary singles (15 of which broke the Top 10 on both charts). It achieved the enviable feat of placing these hits on the Billboard charts in five different decades. 17 of its first 20 albums were certified platinum, nine of those multiplatinum and Chicago 17 hit platinum a whopping six times.

The story of Chicago is one of the most paradoxical in the history of American music. Starting out in the late 1960s as a horn-dominated underground rock band verging on the avant-garde in its use of dissonance, jazz voicings and extended compositions, Chicago initially seemed to have little if any chance of AM radio success. Yet, within a year, the group had three Top 10 singles (“Make Me Smile,” “25 or 6 to 4” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is”), and were selling out arenas from coast to coast.

On its second LP, in 1970, the group declared, “With this album we dedicate ourselves, our futures, and our energies to the people of the revolution. . . . And the revolution in all of its forms.” Despite that, during its first national tour, the group’s trombonist, primary horn arranger and one of its main composers, James Pankow, stated emphatically: “We know what went on at the Democratic Convention, we know what’s going on in Vietnam, but to protest about that musically makes no sense. People hear about that stuff enough without having it shoved down their throats with music. What music is for is getting away from the problems of life.”

The latter statement would seem to be Chicago’s modus operandi for most of its career. By the 1980s, the group had long ceased to support any revolution, and no one would mistake them for being underground or avant-garde. Under producer David Foster’s tutelage, the band had morphed into a mainstream pop group fronted by bassist Peter Cetera, who seemed able to effortlessly craft one Top 10 power ballad after another (“Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Hard Habit to Break” “You’re the Inspiration”), while the horn section that was once one of its most distinguishing characteristics was all but muted.

Chicago was formed in the Windy City in February of 1967 by three DePaul University Music majors: saxophonist/flautist Walter Parazaider, trumpeter Lee Loughnane and trombonist James Pankow, alongside Chicago bar-band veterans keyboardist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine and guitar wizard Terry Kath. Lamn originally did double duty, playing the bass parts on the pedals of his organ. Desiring more punch in the low end, the nascent group soon drafted bassist Peter Cetera from Chicago club sensations the Exceptions. In Kath and Lamm, the group had superb bass and baritone lead voices; Cetera’s tenor voice provided both depth and variety.

Initially called the Big Thing, the band relocated to Los Angeles in the summer of 1968, and manager and producer James Guercio changed its name to Chicago Transit Authority. Guercio’s pedigree included playing on Dick Clark package tours in the mid 1960s, briefly managing Chad and Jeremy, producing four hits by the Buckinghams in 1967, and producing the second Blood Sweat & Tears album. The latter association led many to mistakenly assume that Chicago was copying BS&T’s jazz-rock sound. But, in fact, Chicago had already been playing what its members preferred to think of as its own pioneering rock-band-with-horns sound in Chicago and L.A. clubs for two years before it heard BS&T. It is worth noting that just as Chicago was coming together as the Big Thing in early 1967, the Electric Flag was also pioneering its own concept of a rock band with horns.

Shortly after the release of its debut album in April 1969, the band received a cease-and-desist order from the actual Chicago Transit Authority. Consequently, from late 1969 onward, the group became known simply as Chicago.

With Guercio calling the shots, right out of the box Chicago marched to a different drummer. Four of its first seven albums were double sets. The fifth was the massive and unprecedented four-disc Chicago at Carnegie Hall, documenting a weeklong stint at the venerable concert venue in April 1971. Similarly audacious was Guercio’s decision to number, rather than title, the majority of the group’s albums, reasoning that if classical composers simply numbered their compositions, why not his group?

Instead of images of the band’s members, each album featured the group’s distinctive, stylized logo (designed by Nick Fasciano), creating brand recognition on the level of Coca-Cola or McDonald’s. It would not be until Chicago’s tenth studio album, 1978’s Hot Streets, that the cover featured photos of actual members. The net effect was that individual identities were subsumed under that of the band as a whole. This would prove extremely useful over time, as key members were replaced – the late Kath in 1978, Cetera in 1985 and Seraphine in 1990. While core fans were obviously aware of these changes, most likely the majority of Chicago’s audience hardly noticed.

Guercio’s tenure with the group from 1969 through late 1977 and Chicago XI would prove to be its golden period, producing the vast majority of the band’s best known songs, including such classic radio staples as “Color My World,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Just You ’n’ Me,” “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” “Old Days,” “If You Leave Me Now,” and “Baby, What a Big Surprise.” As Robert Lamm said in 2000, “The first 11 albums are Chicago, and Guercio’s genius was that he captured it, and no other producer [was able to] capture it.”

Not long after the group severed its relationship with Guercio in 1977, guitarist Terry Kath tragically died while playing with a gun he thought was not loaded. Kath was an extraordinarily soulful vocalist (“Make Me Smile,” “Hope for Love”) and a pyrotechnic guitar wizard as evidenced by “Free Form Guitar” from the group’s debut album, his slicing leads on “25 or 6 to 4,” and his moving elegy to Jimi Hendrix titled “Oh, Thank You Great Spirit.” The group would go through three more guitarists before finally settling on Keith Howland in 1995. As capable as each was, none of these ax wielders would replace the spirit, soul and musicality that Kath had brought to the group.

After three disappointing albums with first Phil Ramone and then Tom Dowd taking on the producer’s mantle, Chicago was bought out of its Columbia Records contract. Signing to Full Moon/Warner Bros., the band drafted keyboardist and vocalist Bill Champlin (formerly of the San Francisco staple Sons of Champlin) and let go Brazilian percussionist Laudir de Oliveira (who had joined beginning with Chicago VII in 1974). Handing over the reins to producer David Foster, beginning with Chicago 16 in 1982, the group drew on the earlier success of Peter Cetera ballads, such as “If You Leave Me Now,” and was reborn as a singles-oriented, power ballad juggernaut.

Foster would end up cowriting many of the songs on the next three albums (Chicago 16 through 18), bringing session musicians in to replace or augment the talents of the original band members, liberally employing drum machines and relegating the group’s horn section to the background. Things would never be the same.

By 1985, Peter Cetera left to embark on a solo career, and was replaced by Jason Scheff. Reborn yet again, Chicago managed to achieve gold sales with Chicago 18 and platinum with 19, but after firing drummer Danny Seraphine in 1990, the band basically ceased to be a commercial force. With Tris Imboden replacing Seraphine, Chicago Twenty 1 failed to produce a hit. At this point, Chicago began to tread water. Over the next two decades, it released Night and Day (1995), an album of big-band standards originally cut by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman; two Christmas albums; six compilations; and two live sets. Chicago XXX (2006) was the first studio album of new original material since 1991. With the exception of 2008’s Chicago XXXII: The Stone of Sisyphus, recorded in 1993, the only subsequent album of new material was NOW, put out by the group’s label, Chicago Records, in 2014. That year, the group was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2015, Chicago released yet another live set,Chicago at Symphony Hall Featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Despite the lack of new material over the past 25 years, Chicago has remained a steady box office draw. Millions of fans are still happy to hear the group’s stunning legacy of hit singles, which collectively cover an extraordinary variety of musical styles from funk to rock to jazz to blues to classical to pop ballads.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s fitting to let founder Walter Parazaider sum up the band’s appeal, and ultimately its greatest strength: “There were so many diverse personalities in this group that sometimes I had to wonder why this didn’t blow up after about a year’s worth of success. But we loved music so much. Peter wrote country tunes on the third album. . . . Jimmy Pankow was a stone-cold jazzer who loved the Beatles. Lee Loughnane loved playing big-band jazz, but loved rock and roll. The same thing with myself. And then you had people who loved the Jimi Hendrix stuff, like Terry, or just rock and roll stuff, like Danny, and if you think about it, there is everything from blues, classical, the big-band sound. It became a meld into the band where any kind of music, as long as it was played well, was valid.”

Thirty-six albums and 46 years later, the results speak for themselves.


Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire Trade Hits

In two weeks, Chicago will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after decades of eligibility. Earth, Wind and Fire, on the other hand, is just getting back on the road after the February death of founder Maurice White, the brother of bassist Verdine White.

But while they’re back in the spotlight for very different reasons, both bands have decided to seize their moment and run wild. On Saturday at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire swapped horns and hits for a jubilant 3 1/2 hours, treating 14,000 dancing fans to a crash course in their sizeable legacies, and capping the night with an all-star finale that felt like a Hall of Fame ceremony in itself.

The two bands opened the show together, entering member by member, 21 musicians in all, filling the Amphitheatre’s sizeable stage with brass, percussion and multigenerational voices. Beholding it all was no easy task — band members were staggered across multiple tiers and risers, trading positions and instruments and fist bumps between solos on Chicago’s Beginnings and Dialogue (Part I & II), Earth, Wind and Fire’s In the Stone. It was like an expensive and elaborate Broadway musical; there was so much happening at once, you didn’t know where to look first.

Earth, Wind and Fire’s solo set came next, and after a brief, odd re-introduction — White and singer-percussionists Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson bounded back out to great fanfare, like they hadn’t just done the same thing 15 minutes prior — the band warmed up with a smoky, funky groove, then burst out the disco whistle for Boogie Wonderland.

Songs like Jupiter, Fantasy and Serpentine Fire thundered with the cross-cultural, astrological juju for which Earth, Wind and Fire is famous. The last of those, in particular, was a Chicano-funk odyssey of percussion and outta-control bass, backed by a video featuring vintage Maurice White — man, what a wonder that guy was — leasing a much younger band through the very same song. Maurice wasn’t mentioned by name, but the way Verdine whomped and walloped on his bass, mugging and mashing at the end, he seemed to be digging deep to summon the spirit and soul of his brother.

Chicago, on the other hand, relied on their instrumental virtuosity and synchronicity to wow the crowd, particularly anytime trombonist James Pankow, trumpeter Lee Loughnane and saxophonist Ray Herrmann got together at center stage. With at least four members trading lead vocals during their set, the horns mostly owned center stage — even when they traded their brass for a tambourine, cowbell and clave for the tumbling, rumbling I’m a Man.

Unlike Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago has yet to enjoy a hipster reappraisal and resurgence. But the creative, psychedelic flourishes of experimental suite Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon and greasy Euro-panache of Street Player deserve a fresh look from the Pitchfork set. Either way, Saturday in the Park remains one of the feel-goodiest feel-good songs ever written, a crowd favorite that had everyone standing and swaying like it really was the Fourth of July.

Both bands did dip into the softer, cheesier corners of their respective catalogs. Longtime Chicago bassist Jason Scheff was a shaky but passable fill-in for long-gone vocalist Peter Cetera on Hard Habit to Break, You’re the Inspiration and Hard to Say I’m Sorry. And after warming up with After the Love has Gone, Bailey lit up like a roman candle on Reasons, his falsetto squealing and spiraling to unimaginable heights.

Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire owe a lot to the younger members keeping them sounding fresh, even if most aren’t exactly spring chickens themselves. Saxophonist Gary Bias and trombonist Reggie Young have been with Earth, Wind and Fire for nearly 30 years; trumpeter Bobby Burns Jr. more than 10. All these years later, they remain fitting heirs to the mighty Phenix Horns, working miracles with those gravity-defying charts on Jupiter and Devotion.

It was a shared love of big ol’ brass that brought Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire together for their first co-headlining tour more than a decade ago, and it was big ol’ brass that brought them together at the end of Saturday’s show as well.

Anytime you can open your encore with a 21-piece all-star band blasting September, one of the greatest party anthems of all time, it sets a high bar. But for nearly a half hour, the two-band finale never let up for a second, from the screaming horns of Free to the joyous bounce of Sing a Song to the runaway six-string juggernaut of 25 or 6 to 4. Their euphoric joint performance of Shining Star, we should all be so lucky to experience at least once in our lives.

The stage was once again overloaded with performers — Robert Lamm swaying with a keytar, Johnson and Bailey rapping on drums and congas, both horn lines twisting and dancing in unison. If it was all choreographed, it was choreographed wonderfully. And if not, even better — that just means all 21 guys were up there going wherever they wanted, moving however they saw fit, playing off each other in a natural, free-flowing way. How great they must have felt.

With that remarkable encore, the show went about 25 (or 6) minutes longer than expected, but that’s okay. It’s 2016, and Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire are somehow both having a moment. Can you blame them for getting a little lost in it?