In Homer’s ancient Greek tale, written in the 8th century BC, THE ODYSSEY’s hero Ulysses is lost to the Troy wars for 20 years. The story concludes with how Ulysses finds his way back from Troy and then must fight to regain his place in his own home, overrun by suitors for his faithful wife’s hand.
Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago is nothing less than a modern-day Odyssey. It’s the story of group’s birth, named for the city they love and were raised in, it’s rise to fame, it’s fall from the charts in the 80s when they lost their musical way and their regaining a place in the hearts of their loyal fans.
The superb documentary, premiering at the Sedona Film Festival, produced by Chicago and masterfully directed by Peter Pardini, reverently gives time to each Chicago-Ulysses’ individual journeys. Making this one of the most complex and compelling rock docs you will ever see.
Some of the Chicago heroes fall along the way to rock and roll excess while the core group members battle back from setback after setback. We see fresh faces replace band members lost to the modern-day Troy wars of a music business infested with ego and greed. Most Greek-tragic of the life stories is the death of co-leader of the band, Terry Kath. Watching the heroic band, an important force for social change, lose its way after Kath’s loss, culminating in losing the horn-sound, is compelling and honestly told.
Here’s an overview of the Chicago-Ulysses Heroes to give you some idea how amazing this film is in following all these storylines without losing the viewer.
Current Chicago Members (Source Wikipedia)
- Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals, 12-string guitar (1967–present)
- Lee Loughnane – trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, percussion, vocals (1967–present)
- James Pankow – trombone, percussion, keyboards, vocals (1967–present)
- Walter Parazaider – saxophones, flute, clarinet, backing vocals (1967–present)
- Jason Scheff – bass guitar, vocals, keyboards (1985–present)
- Tris Imboden – drums, percussion (1990–present)
- Keith Howland – guitar, vocals (1995–present)
- Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals (2009–present; touring – 1999, 2007)
- Walfredo Reyes, Jr. – percussion (2012–present)
Former Chicago Members
- Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion, programming (1967–1990)
- Peter Cetera – bass guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar (1967–1985)
- Terry Kath – guitar, vocals, bass guitar (1967–1978; died 1978)
- Laudir de Oliveira – percussion (1974–1981)
- Donnie Dacus – guitar, vocals (1978–1980)
- Chris Pinnick – guitar (1980–1985)
- Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals (1981–2009)
- Dawayne Bailey – guitar, vocals (1986–1994)
- Drew Hester – percussion (2009–2012), drums (touring – 2009)
- Daniel de los Reyes – percussion (2012)
I was lucky enough to grab tickets for me and my love Elizabeth England to one of the sold-out pair of concerts Chicago put on at the Sedona Film Festival. I braced myself to hear something less than the brassy and groovy sounds I grew up on and I loved as an adopted 25-year native of Chicago the city – where I built a skyscraper and Oprah’s Harpo Studios – but the age 40s to 70s Chicago boys have lost nothing. One standing ovation after another rocked the auditorium as Chicago drew upon a treasure chest of mega-hits from their 49-year Odyssey.
Five stars for both the film and concert. The last screening of the doc at the film fest is today, Sunday February 21st at 3PM. I am not sure if any tickets remain. Check at the box office at SedonaFilmFestival.org