Chicago and REO Speedwagon at the Greek

Went to see Chicago and REO Speedwagon at the Greek last night.

Frankly, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that the band is talented, energetic, crowd-responsive, and played many of their hits. The good news is they blended well with the white-haired but still-rockin’ Kevin Cronin and REO so that when all fourteen band members were on stage for the last six or seven numbers, they were all having a whale of a time. The good news is that when you go to see Chicago you get a dynamic presentation, from mellow and soft love songs to blisteringly hot multi-rhythmic rock and roll (well, with horns). The good news is that the sound at the Greek is still terrific as our decent seats were rather stage left in the terrace.

The bad news was that you are actually watching the best Chicago tribute band on the planet. Only Robert Lamm and (I think) the trombone player are from the original (or nearly so) band. Not even Peter Cetera showed this time, though his replacement was top-notch. His brother Kenny, a personal friend and talented in his own right, has another Chicago tribute band playing the casino circuit down this way. The bad news is that, despite being appreciative and cheering, the LA crowd is quite rude, constantly talking and playing with their stupid phones…there were a couple of points in the show where there was silence on stage but you could hear the terrible background noise the crowd was making. I really hate that kind of inconsideration, as we had a trio of idiotic, overly made-up girls behind us (I had to yell at them to be quiet and got approval from the crowd) and a pair of cackling, blue-haired morons in front of us who never shut up until their husbands made them leave early (sooo LA). The bad news is that the Greek Theatre still charges too much for everything (dreadfully delaying sardine parking is $20, small beer is $9 for example) and of course the traffic is, well, LA at its worst.

So musically it was a fun night and I would definitely recommend the show, but surrounded by the trappings of the venue and the crowd, well, I was going to see about tickets to tonight’s Los Lonely Boys show, but I decided to pass…

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