Backbeat: Chicago Rocks Charity Concert @ The Saban Theatre In L.A.
Backbeat: Chicago Rocks Charity Concert @ The Saban Theatre In L.A.

Chicago
Chicago, on the road since last October performing concerts in Australia, South America and Europe, rips through its fundraising set at Los Angeles' Saban Theatre. (Photo: Michael Pazmino/KABC)

TalkRadio 790 KABC became RockRadio KABC when Chicago performed at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct. 22. The occasion was a fundraiser benefiting the Guide Dogs of America and The Foundation Fighting Blindness, hosted by Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and KABC, the team's broadcast station. Inside the art deco venue, Chicago revved through an energetic two-hour set that included the classics "Make Me Smile," "Just You N' Me," "Beginnings," "If You Leave Me Now" and "25 or 6 to 4." The nine-piece band also bounced through a cover of the Brenda Lee fave "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," a selection off its new holiday album, "Chicago XXXIII: Christmas Three." Produced by Phil Ramone and released Oct. 4 on Chicago Records II, the album mixes traditional songs, 20th century standards and an original tune ("Rockin' and Rollin' on Christmas Day") co-written by founding member Lee Loughnane. Guests include Dolly Parton, America, Steve Cropper and BeBe Winans.

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Chicago
Coolin' down after a hot show are, from left, KABC and KLOS director of marketing Mike Olson, Walt Parazaider (saxophone), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), Robert Lamm (keyboard), KABC morning host Peter Tilden and James Pankow (trombone). (Photo: Michael Pazmino/KABC)

Backstage after the show, Loughnane and fellow sweat-drenched original members Walt Parazaider, Robert Lamm and James Pankow laughed when morning host Peter Tilden jokingly asked, "Why didn't you guys just phone it in?" And that, noted Lamm, is why the group remains a draw 44 years after its start in 1967: "It's the songs; the music." Added Pankow, "Little did we know that this music would become a phenomenon across generations. We're just along for the ride." That ride includes a listening party for the new holiday album hosted by Clear Channel radio station WLTW New York on Nov. 28 at BB King's Blues Club. "It was a night of great music and thanksgiving," said the Dodgers' Colletti. The Windy City native's mention a year ago that Chicago was his favorite group helped get the ball rolling for the charitable event. And as for the Dodgers competing in the World Series next year, Colletti declared, "Amen!"

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