Chicago/EWF….The Musical Brotherhood On Full Display

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In our continuing coverage of the current Chicago tour featuring Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr., we have followed Wally and the band throughout North America and now into the Canadian leg of the tour. So much has happened and Wally has taken us behind the scenes anywhere from pre-game activities to post-show meet and greets to what Wally does on days off. However, tonight Wally wanted to talk about the “other group” that Chicago is touring with as well as the very unique “brotherhood” that these two groups have fostered after spending so much time together.

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The “other group” is, of course, the iconic Earth, Wind & Fire. We have talked about the parallels between these two great bands (i.e., Chicago/EWF) before and they are striking; for example, both groups originated in the Windy City, both have sold 100+ million records, and, both are (rightfully) in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. However, as Wally tells us, he wanted to touch upon a truly intangible phenomenon that has developed over time between these two bands. Wally explains it like this:

“As we approach the end of this leg of the current tour with EWF [Chicago’s tour continues on into 2017] I would be remiss if I did not talk about the chemistry that has developed between these two supergroups. It is amazing, I have to say. First, I am so honored and thankful to be performing with such a talented and historic group like Chicago but when you add EWF to the mix I have to say that I am a bit overwhelmed. On any given night the talent around me is over the top and both groups bring such a musical history.
Wally's nightly view. (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Wally’s nightly view. (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
But besides that I wanted fans to know that both groups really like each other and we get along great. I have to admit, we have fun doing this and I think that comes through in the performance from both groups. In fact, I wanted to share some special pics to show you what I mean. It’s so positive and I am so fortunate to be a part of this. Really.”

As Wally further tells us, a lot of the chemistry and fun starts about 10 feet to his right while standing on stage. Wally is, of course, referring to his good friend and monster drummer Tris Imboden, Chicago’s longest standing time keeper.

Tris greets Wally just before show time (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Tris greets Wally just before show time (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

Wally likens the relationship between the two groups to a “brotherhood.”

From l. to r., Wally, EWF drummer John Paris, and, Tris Imboden (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
From l. to r., Wally, EWF drummer John Paris, and, Tris Imboden (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

Wally explains the foundation for this positive atmosphere like this: “A lot of it comes from the togetherness, respect, and professionalism that each band shares among themselves and I think that spills over to the other band and vice versa. For example, check out this pic below. It’s evident that both groups are on the same page and it’s really quite a journey to be around something like this. We care for one another and we all share experiences and even ups and downs. It’s a very special bond we all have.”

Chicago about to hit the stage. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Chicago/EWF come together before hitting the stage. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Wally, Ray Brown and Lee Loughnane. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Wally, Ray Brown and Lee Loughnane. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Musical togetherness. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

In trying to further describe the bonding and camaraderie Wally made this interesting analogy: “If you follow any sport they all have “All Star” games and it’s clear that all the best players are there and they are happy to see one another and to participate as one for that special occasion all for the benefit of the fans. They are all having fun doing what they do and that’s what makes that game so special and that’s why it occurs only once a season. Having said that and by way of analogy, I feel like every night on this tour has been an “All Star” game if you can imagine that.” Indeed, check out Wally’s proof of what he says:

From l. to r., B. David Whitworth, Keith Howland, and, Jeff Coffey having fun prior to performing. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
From l. to r., B. David Whitworth, Keith Howland, and, Jeff Coffey having fun prior to performing. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
From l. to r., Wally, Herrmann, and, Bobby Burns. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
From l. to r., Wally, Herrmann, and, Bobby Burns. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

In typical Wally fashion he even gets the crew involved in the bonding experience.

From l. to r., Wally, new FOH engineer Markus Meyer, and, Keith Howland. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
From l. to r., Wally, new FOH engineer Markus Meyer, and, Keith Howland. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

Soon it will be time for Wally to take his place and then it’s showtime.

Wally's view. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Wally’s view. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

At the conclusion of the show it will be time for Wally and crew to board their buses for the long trip to Vancouver after rocking Edmonton. Sleep well Wally and we will catch up with you in Vancouver. As always, thanks for sharing.

Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor
 

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