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Chicago performs tonight at the Sanford Center

BEMIDJI — How many songs will Chicago be playing tonight? Probably in the 25 range, not six to four of them.

Rest assured, the classic rock band is set to perform more than two hours of material from their 30-plus album catalog.

One of the founding members of the group, Walt Parazaider, spoke with the Pioneer recently about the show, the band and what fans can expect at tonight’s show.

“It’s a two part show that has a lot of music. There will be a lot of songs that people will recognize and some that will be new. We have a an album coming out July 4, ‘NOW CHICAGO XXXVI.’ And we just might throw in some surprises on top of that.” Parazaider said. “I can guarantee you that the people that come, and ourselves included, will walk away with smiles on their faces. We’re going to have a great time playing way over two hours of music.”

Parazaider said the process for choosing material from a catalog of more than 30 albums is interesting.

“I may be glib here and say we decide that with fist fights. It’s nothing that violent. It’s a nice problem to have,” he said with a laugh. “Somebody had shown us that on the Billboard list of Top 100 artists that have had hits, we’re ranked No. 13. And we’re the first American group on that list. We’re right behind the Bee Gees. They’re 12 and the (Rolling) Stones are 10.

“So, it’s a nice problem to have. To have that much music and to be able to switch it up some and to put some of the familiar stuff in the show — quite a bit of it, since we do have quite the extensive catalog.”

Because Chicago tours every year, they want to keep the show fresh, he said.

“If the people are going to come and pay their hard earned money, we’re definitely going to put a show together that even if they saw us last year, there’s going to be surprises,” Parazaider said.

He also noted the band likes to dig deep and throw some obscure songs in the mix.

“Every once in a while, we will sneak one of those in. There’s some of the tunes that when I listen to a CD of ours, which is not very often, I go, ‘Jeez, we recorded that,’” he said. “It’s one of those kind of things because of our body of work that we have, what with our 36th album of ours coming out, every once in a while something gets sneaked in there.

“And there’s something in there now that I think if you come to the show you’ll go, ‘Oh yeah, I think that’s one of theirs.’ It’s something we like to do, it keeps our minds fresh to put something in there that people might say, ‘I didn’t think I might hear that.’ A little surprise here and there.”

The Chicago concert begins at 8 p.m at the Sanford Center.

Joe Froemming

Joe Froemming is a page designer for Forum Communications Co. You can read his blog at

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