Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Chicago comes to Valley of the Sun

Chicago concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on August 18th, 2023

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents ( )
Venue: Celebrity Theatre ( )
Date:  Friday August 18th, 2023

Chicago concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on August 18th, 2023

In the 60s almost every band was made up of the classic 4-piece band setup, electric guitar, bass, drums and lead vocalist.  Every once in a while, there might be an organ included (e.g., Deep Purple, The Doors).  Only 2 major rock bands from that time included a brass section, Blood Sweet & Tears and Chicago Transit Authority.  Up until then only jazz or Latin influence bands contained a horn section.  From their very first album (self titled) they showed that adding a horn section could still make the music rock.  “Introduction” from their first album, sets the standard for how a horn section can add to the dynamics of any rock song.  Since then, other bands have incorporated a horn section include Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band.

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 50 years since Chicago Transit Authority performed here in Phoenix at the Arizona State Fair in 1968.  In 1969 they shortened their name to just Chicago.  Local Arizona promoter, Danny Zelisko loves to promote classic rock groups and did a 3-city tour with Chicago at Prescott Valley, Tucson and finally Phoenix.  Tonight, we were luckily enough to see Chicago at one of the classic venues in Phoenix, The Celebrity Theatre.  For those that haven’t been to the Celebrity Theatre, it is a venue designed around a “round” center stage.  Also, the audience sits right up at the stage.  For tonight’s show which was completely sold-out, the stage rotated.

Spanning over 50 years, Chicago has gone through a number of lineup changes.  But during their multiple decades run, they have produced 25 Platinum albums, 21 top 10 hits, 5 Grammys, introduction into Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014 and introduction into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.  James Pankow and Robert Lamm were both inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017.

Max Gomez at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on August 18th, 2023

The band had a day off before the Phoenix show.  At dinner that night, Danny decided to invite his personal friend, Max Gomez to perform prior to Chicago.  Max is a singer-song writer that plays acoustic guitar.   Max hails from New Mexico.  Max’s style is southwest folk.  This is the second time I have seen Max and he is very good and I really enjoy his music.  I personally like his song about traveling and dealing with TSA agents and how they think he not a US citizen but from Mexico instead of New Mexico.  If you get a chance to see Max perform, I would highly recommend it.

After Max was done, Danny Zelisko came out on stage to do his normal future concert announcements.  Once the announcements were done, Blu Parr join Danny.  She was carrying a guitar signed by all of the members of Chicago.  This guitar was being auction off and the proceeds went to St. Mary’s Food Bank to aid them in feeding people in the greater Phoenix area.  For every dollar collected, St. Mary’s is able to provide 5 meals.  Danny and his team have been doing this now for some time and it has helped St. Mary’s provide hundred of thousands of meals.  Many thanks to Danny, his team, Chicago band members, Celebrity Theatre and of course the winners for helping this amazing charity.

Chicago concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on August 18th, 2023

For me there are 2 songs which when they start immediately brings Chicago to mind, “Introduction” and “25 or 6 to 4”.  They started the concert with “Introduction” and ended the show with “25 or 6 to 4”.  “Introduction” (from their first album) set the standard for how a horn section can interrogate and enhance classic rock & roll.  It also set the mode for the rest of the night by uplifting the audience.  They then continued with all of their many hits.  When they were performing “Call on Me”, I initially thought that they were having technical issues with the mics.  It seemed they were getting a buss or echo.  But in reality, it was the audience singing along.  For a majority of the songs for the rest of the night, people would sing along.  There were even a number of people dancing throughout the concert.  It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves and the band seemed to be energized by this audience feedback.  They ended the first set with “Ballet for a Girl in Bachannon”, a 7-song composite that runs for over 13 minutes.  As they walked off, they were given one of their many standing ovations.

The evening was divided into 2 sets with a 20-minute break where the band and most of the audience got refreshments.  The second set continue with their hits including “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”, “Beginnings” “I’m a Man” and “Saturday In The Park”.  They ended the second set with “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”.  Instead of leaving the stage, they stayed on to play a 2-song encore of “Free” and finally “25 or 6 to 4”.

Chicago concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on August 18th, 2023

The current members of Chicago are: Robert Lamm (Keyboards & Vocals), Walfredo Reyes, Jr. (Drums), Ramon “Ray” Yslas (Percussion), Neil Donell (Vocals & Guitar), Tony Obrohta (Guitar & Vocals), Loren Gold (Keyboard & Vocals) and Eric Baines (Bass & Vocals).  The horn section consists of James Pankow (Trombone), Lee Loughnane (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) and Ray Herrmann (Saxophones, Flute & Clarinet).

Over the years I have been lucky enough to see Chicago perform multiple times.  They are still one of my favorite groups in that they combine the best of both classic rock & roll and jazz.  Their horn section is one of the best of all times.  If you get the chance to see Chicago, I would strongly recommend it.  You will have a great time and the music will bring back memories of why we love 60s and 70s music.  To final out when and where Chicago will be performing, go to their website.

Chicago Social Media pages:


Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved

Max Gomez

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved

Chicago Setlist:
Dialogue (Part I & II)
Questions 67 & 68
Call on Me
Wake Up Sunshine
(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long
If You Leave Me Now
Ballet For a Girl in Buchannan
Make Me Smile
So Much to Say, So Much to Give
Anxiety’s Moment
West Virginia Fantasies
Colour My World
To Be Free
Now More Than Ever
Make Me Smile (Reprise)
Set 2:
Alive Again
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
Old Days
Hard Habit to Break
You’re The Inspiration
(Followed by band introductions)
I’m a Man                    (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
Just You ‘n’ Me
Hard to Say I’m Sorry / Get Away
Saturday in the Park
Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
25 or 6 to 4


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