Chicago-Mayo Performing Arts Center – Morristown, NJ

Mayo Performing Arts Center – Morristown, NJ – April 19, 2023

Review & Photos – Rebecca Wolf


I think we’ve all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is the perfect motto for photographers who capture incredible stories through their camera lenses, often far beyond what could be expressed in mere words. Looking at the multitude of photos I shot of the Chicago concert, at Mayo Performing Arts Center, those pictures translate to a word count in the millions. However, no amount of words, whether bright, colorful, dramatic or powerful would be able to adequately represent the positive energy, brilliant spirit and incredible music emanating from the members of this magnificent ten-piece band. 

The magic of Chicago was born more than half a century ago, rising out of the incredible songwriting skills of founding band members Robert Lamb, James Pankow (both still members of the band), as well as Peter Cetera and Terry Kath. The band was created to be a “rock and roll band with horns” and the members’ masterful vocal abilities and instrumental skills raised their magical songwriting to the next level. The music quickly caught the eyes and ears of the public and ultimately led to Chicago earning twenty-three gold, eighteen platinum and eight multi-platinum albums.  

With 56 years since the original formation of the band, many members have come and gone. Of the original seven, three have remained throughout the band’s tenure, including Robert Lamm, keyboards and vocals, Lee Loughnane, trumpet, flugelhorn and backing vocals and James Pankow, trombone and backing vocals. Presently, Chicago’s additional members include, Walfredo Reyes Jr, drums, Ray Herrmann, saxophones, flute, backing vocals, Neil Donell, vocals, acoustic guitar, Ramon “Ray” Yslas, percussion, Tony Obrohta, guitar, backing vocals, Loren Gold, keyboards, backing vocals and Eric Baines, bass, backing vocals. The comings and goings of band members has done nothing to slow Chicago, who’ve continued to tour for more than five decades. What’s abundantly clear is that Chicago’s music is so beloved and such a part of the fabric of American musical culture that it’s transcended time, as well as changes in band members.  

The love for Chicago couldn’t have been more apparent than at Mayo Performing Arts Center, where the band performed for two sold out shows. From the moment the musicians enthusiastically arrived on the vibrantly illuminated stage, the excitement and energy in the crowd was palpable. The evening opened with “Introduction,” a song showcasing the powerful horn section, from the band’s 1969 debut album, Chicago Transit Authority, followed by the upbeat, tambourine-infused “Dialogue (Part I & II)” from Chicago V, before returning to their debut album for “Question 67 and 68,” a number that displays prominent horns, combined with dynamic vocals. From the beginning of this musical extravaganza fans sang along, cheered, applauded and danced in their seats. While audience members entered the theater with an already heightened level of enthusiasm, their excitement rose exponentially as the band performed a musical set that could’ve easily filled a greatest hits double album. Additional songs from the evening’s first set included the cheerful, breezy “Call On Me,” the beautiful harmonies of “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long,” both from Chicago VII, the sweetly touching, “If You Leave Me Now,” from Chicago X and the achingly sentimental “Colour My World.”

The second set of the evening brought with it more of the band’s hits, including “Just You n’ Me” and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” as well as the wonderfully soaring “Beginnings,” and the beloved, high-spirited “Saturday in the Park.” Fan favorite 1980s numbers included “Hard Habit to Break,” “You’re the Inspiration” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” No Chicago concert would be complete without an energetic, impassioned performance of the electrifying “25 or 6 to 4,” which not only had band members performing at full-force but had all audience members passionately singing along and dancing in the aisles for the evening’s encore. 

While it’s been more than fifty-five years since the formation of Chicago, the band has remained on the road; their tremendous catalog of music still beloved by legions of fans, and selling out performances across the US. With an incredible ten-piece band like Chicago, it’s challenging to verbally represent their vibrant energy and brilliant spirit but as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so take a look through the camera lens at the magnificence of CHICAGO.