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Walfredo Reyes

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Editor’s Note: This is our final installment of our continuing coverage of the Chicago tour featuring Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr.  It’s been a great run here with Wally and we started in Atlantic City and followed Wally and the band all the way through the Northeastern United States to Canada and then out to the Western United States. Wally has been busy for sure and he’s done a great job in sending us some unusual pics and features from the road. Wally will be home for a while and then Chicago will resume its tour on February 2 with dates up and through February 11. The band also has 2 shows scheduled for March. For us and Wally, this has been a great and insightful journey and for that, we thank Wally.

LP

So, in this last installment we asked Wally the question that appears to be on the minds of many people; what is it like when the tour ends and also what it is like when Chicago goes on without EWF? Here’s what Wally told us.

BB: Wally, when you look back on this tour (Heart and Soul 3.0) what comes to mind?

Wally: Honestly, it was an epic tour.  I know people hear this all the time but I mean it, it really was. I never thought I would say that after 2.0 but things just seemed to get better between the bands on the tour. Never a dull moment and always something happening.  I am so thankful for the time that we spent with EWF and when we come back in February we start touring on our own. So, overall, I would say I have a feeling of gratefulness, satisfaction, and achievement as to that part of the tour that we did with EWF.

One last hang. Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
One last hang for the members of Chicago and EWF. Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

I know we–meaning both bands–literally put our “heart and soul” into this tour and I feel confident that the fans of Chicago and EWF were really happy with what they saw. I know I was. There was also a touch of sadness with the last show, I will admit, but that is a testament to how much fun and how good this tour truly was with EWF. I will miss my friends at EWF for sure but I know we have much more to look forward to.

BB: When Chicago resumes its tour in February will you have any opening act now that EWF is done with the joint tour?

Wally: Yes. We have had other amazing bands play with us on tour and some lesser known great bands open for us. But I have to say that the Chicago/EWF experience of both bands playing together on stage….well, there’s nothing like it.

Tail of the shark

BB: If you took a guess, do you think there will be more in the future for Chicago and EWF on tour?

Wally: I think I speak for myself and others when I say that we all hope that after this tour, which was called the Heart and Soul 3.0 tour, that there will be a 4.0 and a 5.0 and a 6.0 and so on. We all loved doing this tour so yes, I would not be surprised if these two great bands reunite in the future again.

BB: Despite the fun and success of Heart And Soul 3.0 are you looking forward to a break?

Wally: I am. I will miss the buses and the travel and the camaraderie that we had on this tour but by the same token, we are happy to go home for the holidays to be with family and friends.

The ritual known as cleaning out out wardrobe cases (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
The ritual known as cleaning out out wardrobe cases (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Saying goodbye to the tour buses. Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Saying goodbye to the tour buses. Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

BB: Any special mentions that you want to send out?

Wally: Yes, in fact there are. The first is to a Mike Fornes who is one of the best tour bus drivers in the business.

Wally and (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Wally and Mike Fornes (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

After being with Chicago for more than 15 years he is retiring from being a tour bus driver and he will be going home to go into another business. We are so thankful for all he did for us that we gifted him a beautiful guitar signed by both Chicago and EWF. Thanks Mike for keeping us safe on the road and for not hitting that HUGE moose in Canada!!

Wally and Gerson (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Wally and Gerson Marroquin (Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

I also want to acknowledge Gerson Marroquin, our assistant tour manager, who had no less than 100 different jobs. Gerson started with us this year and it was his first rock music tour. For that experience he is a changed man and a better man as well!

In fact, I want to recognize the crews for both bands. They were absolutely great and I appreciate everything that each and everyone of them did for us. They certainly made it easier for us to do our jobs as performers.

(Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
(Photo credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

BB: Wally, you’ve been great. Any last thoughts?

Wally: Again, I am so thankful for everything in my life. I play in this magnificent and legendary band called Chicago and every night I get to go out and perform with great friends and bandmates. Indeed, musical legends. I don’t take anything for granted and I appreciate every minute. I also wanted to say that I am so proud of my daughter, Lilliana de los Reyes, who has been out on tour with George Benson. (Check out Lilliana’s video below). Wally WorldShe’s a terrific performer and I am just thrilled to see her succeeding in the music business. Finally, I am excited to announce the release of my new solo record entitled Wally World. So in the end I am grateful, very grateful, and I want to thank all the fans for their kind words along the way and all the support we have gotten from them. I also want to thank my bandmates in Chicago. This entire experience with this band has been nothing short of amazing. I really look forward to more future success and fun with this group.

Editor’s Note: Look for upcoming review of Wally World here on Beato’s Blog.

Great stuff Wally and for Wally’s fans, don’t fret it. We will be talking with Wally in the near future about his new album (and so much more) when we get back with him in a few weeks. Wally, thanks for the ride, it was a great one.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

As the Chicago tour carries on Wally and the band are enjoying some respite from work and we wanted to catch up and find out what Wally was doing during his time off in Canada. Wally tells us that he was able to check out the beautiful city of Toronto before he and the band headed West. He said,

“I had the pleasure of spending some time in Toronto.  The Canadian people are wonderful and we were excited to play for them. Toronto is a modern city with lots of attractions and plenty of things to do. In fact, I had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Ontario Museum to check out an exhibit by American sculptor Dale Chihuly.
The Chihuly Exhibit. Photo Credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
The Chihuly Exhibit. Photo Credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
When I saw the colors of this exhibit and heard its sounds it was very stimulating to the sonic part of my brain. Additionally, Toronto has some amazing restaurants. In just one day I ate Lebanese, Indian, and, Novo Modern Canadian cuisine (mix of regional foods with multi ethnic influences)!”

 

Here’s a shot of the amazing Dale Chihuly Exhibit (Photo Credit: Walfredo Reyes, Jr.).

Chihuly Exhibit 2

As Wally said, Toronto is indeed a beautiful city.

The beautiful Toronto skyline. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
The beautiful Toronto skyline. Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
MTS Centre
The MTS Centre

After leaving Toronto the band performed its next show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, On Wednesday, November 2, Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire appeared at the MTS Centre which is a 15,000 seat arena which hosts a number of major entertainment acts and it is also the home the NHL Winnipeg Jets. In talking about that show Wally told us the following:

“Nice people in Winnipeg. We do a “Meet and Greet” before the show and after the show. Earth Wind And Fire does the same thing and I was really honored to see lots of passion and enthusiasm amongst long time fans of both bands.” 
161102- wind 03.jpg
Chicago and EWF performing at the MTS Centre

As it relates to the great City of Chicago, we also asked Wally if he was able to witness the Chicago Cubs’ historic victory in the World Series. In response, Wally said:

“Tonight [in Winnipeg] the challenge of the Chicago/EWF band and crew was to do all we needed to do, do the meet and greets, and then do the show.  We were able, in between all of this, to catch some of the World Series. In fact, EWF got off stage and the first question we heard was “who’s winning?” (Laughs) I myself want to say congratulations to the Chicago Cubs!! Chicago is special to us and in fact our manager Peter Schivarelli lives there and we all have a lot of family and friends there.  The same goes for EWF who are also originally from Chicago.  We are happy they won and it was a happy time backstage for sure. There was a lots of screaming after the show on our way to our hotel. Tomorrow we are on to Calgary!! We fly and it is a day of travel and I am looking forward to it.”

Safe travels Wally. We will catch up with you in Calgary.

Editor’s Note: To read a terrific review of the Winnipeg show, check out this glowing review from the Winnipeg Free Press here.  Good work Wally!

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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Editor’s Note: The featured picture above is courtesy of Walfredo Reyes, Jr., and it depicts the soundstage at First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, which will be shared between Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire. (October 29, 2016)

In our ongoing feature which follows Chicago on its current tour (featuring Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr.),  a lot of what Wally talks about is done to give fans a behind the scenes look at tour life with Chicago. However, as Wally tells us in this installment, there are some real educational tips that he would like to share about tour life and touring in general. Let’s check it out.

Shore_Love_medium-rectangle

First, Wally tells us that nutrition and eating the proper food is critical while on tour. In his words, you need to eat right to keep up your energy and stamina in order to perform at your very best. Said Wally:

“One of the most important things when we are on the road is eating well before the show and after the show and this catering tonight is the gourmet of caterings. It’s like going to a gourmet restaurant so we feel really good and appreciate it tremendously. Needless to say I’m full!!!”
(Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

Editor’s Note: We asked Wally which caterer impressed him this much and he told us it was Capers Catering. Capers’ reputation precedes them as they are one of the preeminent caterers around. Please visit there website here to learn more.

Asbury-Park-Fight-Club.jpg

A second tip is to always employ a great sound crew. In Atlantic City Wally told us that when Chicago hits the stage their volumes and monitor levels are perfect virtually every night. Rarely does Wally have to ask for adjustments on his monitor mix which is a huge factor when you perform in a show which is the size of Chicago’s which involves numerous musicians over a large stage area. Thus, as Wally tells us:

“The sound department and guys running it are crucial maybe more than you know. You can be an amazing band but without an equally amazing soundcrew it doesn’t come out there to the audience. Our soundcrew is amazing and they help us deliver our great sound night in and night out. These guys are VERY important to us.”
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

Wally’s final tip is that warming up and stretching is always important and that you always have to make time for both. Thus, before each show Wally takes the time to loosen up and he always gives himself plenty of time to prepare for that night’s performance.

Wally warming up in Hamilton, Ontario (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Wally warming up in Hamilton, Ontario (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

Preparation for each show also includes taping his hands. On that point Wally offered this advice:

Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
“I tape my hands before our shows. Tris Imboden and I use Nexcare First Aid Tape to protect hands from skin cracks and cuts that happen when dry weather sets in. After show the best healing cream I’ve found is Bodyshop Hemp Hand Protector.”

Editor’s Note: Wally advises that you can find out more information about Hemp Hand Protector here.

Awesome tips from a master musician who has significant touring experience.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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Editor’s Note: The photo credit for the feature image above belongs to Cindy Hurt.

This is our continuing coverage of the current Chicago tour featuring Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr. As Wally tells us, one of the frequent questions he gets asked is what does he do on days or time off while on tour. After all, even the hard working band Chicago does get some time off from their busy schedule.

The man at work
The man at work

Shore_Love_medium-rectangle

Editor’s Note: The time frame for this discussion is October 27 and 28. On October 27 the band had actual time off with no performance scheduled for that day. On October 28 Chicago appeared with Earth, Wind & Fire at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Bell Centre is the home of the Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and it sports a healthy seating capacity of 21,273.

So, Wally tell us. What do you do with time off? Here’s Wally’s response:

“A lot of people want to know what we do on our days off. Well, I personally don’t like to take days “off” to rest because I do my resting with days “on” and giving back. For example, I did a workshop at the brand new KoSA Music Academy [after we arrived] in Montreal. We had a jam session for students and music lovers there and it was amazing.  Then today [October 28] for lunchtime I will get together with my friend Christian Lagueux  who has a studio at Cirque du Soleil Headquarters where he is involved with Cirque’s music productions. Then we are on to play at night in Montreal and then in the Toronto area [London and Hamilton] and after each show we get back on the tour bus.” 
Editor’s Note: The KoSA Academy is amazing and to find out more about this wonderful establishment please check out their website here. To find out more about Christian Legueux, check out his website here

While in Montreal Wally also tells us that he had to grab a coffee (actually two) at Montreal’s fabulous Olimpic Cafe. (If you are in Montreal visit them! Délicieux! Here’s their website).

Cafe Olympico
(Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
In addition to that, Wally tells us that he also takes time to relax in that great amenity known as the tour bus and for this tour, there are plenty of them!
Tour buses
(Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Inside the bus, Wally and his bandmates get to travel in comfort. Check it out.
On board the tour bus (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
On board the tour bus (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

Finally, being the guy he is Wally always seems to gather others for a tour selfie outside the bus. As Wally tells us, you always have to have fun. Indeed!

L. to r.; Keith Howland, Wally, Tris Imboden, bus driver Mike Fornes, and, Jeff Coffey (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
L. to r.; Keith Howland, Wally, Tris Imboden, bus driver Mike Fornes, and, Jeff Coffey (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

We will look forward to hearing more from Wally after tonight’s show in Montreal. Good stuff Wally.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

In our continuing coverage of the current Chicago tour (featuring Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr.), Wally reports that the band had a great time over the weekend performing at the Dunkin Donuts Center, in Providence,

The ultra modern Dunkin Donuts Center
The ultra modern Dunkin Donuts Center

Rhode Island. The Dunkin Donuts Center is a beautiful and modern venue and a fitting place for the epic band Chicago and Reyes to have performed at. In keeping up with Wally and the band, Wally decided to share some behind the scenes shots of the band’s visit to Providence.

Editor’s Note: You can check out our first installment of On The Road With Chicago’s Walfredo Reyes, Jr., A Photo Essay, here.

Asbury-Park-Fight-Club.jpg

As usual, Chicago’s hard working crew was on hand to get all the equipment in place for the evening’s performance.

Load in (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Load in (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

Like we saw when we visited with Wally in Atlantic City, the band’s show includes an elaborate light and special effects display which requires great skill and expertise to pull off night after night on a major tour. Providence was no exception as again Chicago and crew came prepared to deliver.

Electronics for the stage screens and video displays (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Electronics for the stage screens and video displays (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)

The state of the art technology for Chicago’s stage show, Wally tells us, is truly impressive and complex and indeed, it looks it.

Chicago's video and special effects man at work (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jc.)
Chicago’s video and special effects man at work (Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jc.)

Wally also tells us that the band is treated well on the road which is no surprise considering how Chicago has a reputation for excellence on and off the stage. Case in point was a pre-show catered event for the band and crew.

Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.)
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Pho
Photo credit Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

What followed next was another great performance and a lot of fun. Next up, Wally and Chicago will be appearing tonight in Manchester, New Hampshire, at the Verizon Wireless Arena before taking off for several dates in Canada. Good stuff Wally; keep up the good work.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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