I had recorded, from Direct TV, a concert at Red Rock Colorado, where Chicago and REO Speedwagon did a mutual concert. Both of these 70's bands were huge in their own rights and produced many great songs but what was so special was how they actually sounded together. REO started the night and would do a set of 5 to 6 of their signature songs then would take a break while Chicago took the stage with their instruments and also did 5 to 6 of their signature songs but after that came the magic of the night. Both bands/groups came out and the stage was filled with each band's instruments and equipment and then both groups, together, took the stage as they started playing another 6 songs alternating between 3 of REO Speedwagon's greatest, most recognized songs and 3 of Chicago's but unlike the sets before each band/group played and participated in the other band's song as if they had originally performed it and it just worked.
By saying it just worked I mean it worked to perfection in that each song, performance, was actually better than if done and performed by the original band/group themselves. Here after all these years you had musicians playing as if at the top of their game and the vocals were spot on that might even have you speculating that they were lip syncing but I don't think that was happening, at least for most of the vocals, because you could hear the subtle differences that time has contributed to each vocal. While REO's lead singer didn't have the same power that his vocals had when he was in his twenties and thirties Chicago's lead vocals seemed to be stronger than ever and then unlike many of the 70's groups, their signature horns brought about an aspect to their music that was unique to the 70's era bands but made their songs all that more memorable and strong.
At one point I wondered how all this came about? Were various members of the original groups lounging around their pools or cutting their grass when another called them up and said "hey what do you think about?". I don't know that either group was really into retirement and it's very possible that they have been continuing to tour through the years but one thing is for certain and that is that the money has never been better for them so while I have no doubt they thoroughly enjoy playing their music and interacting with their still strong fans, I'm sure that the money they bring in is also a nice benefit and for the fans we are treated with some, still, great music that still can bring about the same feelings as it did in our own youth and quite possibly that is as good a reason to continue touring as anything because I know some aspects of touring has to take a toll on the various members but then unlike the years past today there is a new enjoyment that comes with each show that wasn't maybe as apparent when in their youth.
I'm just glad that we can still have the experience of the live shows of some of our favorite groups for many are enjoying a great renaissance period in their careers and some even are giving us new songs and music. One of those groups that are giving us new music, even after all these years, is Brian Wilson and the Beach Boy's even though major contributor's to the group have passed on through the years such as Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson. The vocals that you hear today aren't lip syncing but are actually 70 year old musicians and singers that still have the edge and produce some great harmony and vocals even for what many would consider as "old men", way past their prime yet they are proving us wrong and that with some musicians and groups there is no such thing as retirement. Yeah each musician and singer shows the marks of time and aging but their voices and talent in playing their respective instruments hasn't waned one bit. It's amazing to hear folks like Brian Wilson still able to harmonize and hit the high notes almost like he was back in his youth. It took a while to get Brian Wilson back, due to all the problems he had, but he seems as good as ever and seems to be enjoying life to a degree that maybe he never really did before.