LIVE: Chicago / Earth, Wind & Fire @ SPAC, 8/29/15

September 21st, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The veteran horn-fueled band Chicago were one of the earliest rockers to grace the stage of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs back in the band’s ’60s & ‘early ’70s heyday.

And more recently, the baby-boomer faves have been a mainstay on the SPAC stage, teaming up for a summer tour with one or another classic rock band – Reo Speedwagon, the Doobie Brothers and, in this case, Earth Wind & Fire – for a regular Spa City double-bill.

So Chicago – still featuring the horn-fueled power of trumpeter Lee Loughnane and trombonist James Pankow, as well as original keyboardist-vocalist Robert Lamm – knows the drill. And rather than flip coin to determine who’s opening for who, they simply open and close the show with a full onslaught, double-band cluster-fuck.

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LIVE: Chicago / REO Speedwagon @ SPAC, 8/19/14

September 8th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk, courtesy of The Glens Falls Chronicle

Veteran heartland rock machines REO Speedwagon and Chicago have both been pumping it out for years, rolling into town in one combination or another (with the Doobies Brothers, Styx, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ted Nugent, etc.) for co-headlining shows.

At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center recently each band took the stage and ran through as many of their hits that they could cram into their set. You know the songs.

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James Pankow, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

July 1st, 2010, 11:20 am by Greg

James Pankow“Wow! I really don’t know what the first album was that I ever bought. When I was growing up, I was more into jazz than pop because being a horn player that was my bag. That was the music that applied to my instrument. Back then, there was no room in rock ‘n’ roll for a bloody trombone.

My earliest record collection consisted primarily of jazz records – the Cannonball Adderly Sextet, the Crusaders, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson. And big bands like Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, that kind of stuff.

Nonetheless, I was into the Beatles and Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett. Back in the ‘60s, soul music was the music of the day.”

Trombonist-songwriter-arranger James Pankow and his bandmates in Chicago will hit the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on 7:30pm Saturday in a double-bill with the Doobie Brothers.

7/21/59: It was 50 years ago today…

July 21st, 2009, 10:00 am by Greg

In the eighth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox, Pumpsie Green was called into the game as a pinch runner for the Boston Red Sox, thus becoming the first African American to play for the Red Sox.


The Boston team was the last Major League Baseball franchise to integrate – 12 years after Jackie Robinson first broke the color barrier.

Read Pumpsie Green’s first-person account here.

Hands down it’s “Talk to the Hand”

July 16th, 2009, 12:07 pm by Greg

June was a very good month for filmmaker Chris Murphy, a student at Niskayuna High School. His film, “Talk to the Hand,” earned the prestigious Best of Show honors at the annual Rod Serling Video Festival in Binghamton on June 5. The festival showcases the work of film students from kindergarten through high school from all around the country.

In addition to Murphy, several other local Nippertown filmmakers also earned trophies at the fest. Guilderland High School’s Max Collins snagged the Best Comedy trophy for his film, “Definitely,” while the Tamarac High School team of Amy Berger and Jon Brust grabbed Best Screenplay honors for “The Bloody Mary Experience.”

But there was still more good news in store for Chris Murphy in June.

Two weeks later, Murphy’s film – a short subject comedy that he wrote, directed and starred in – took home the top trophy as Best Animated Film at the CineYouth Festival in Chicago. Held in conjunction with the Chicago International Film Festival, the CineYouth Fest showcased the works of nearly 100 student filmmakers from throughout the nation.

In addition to “Talk to the Hand,” several other films by Niskayuna students were also screened at the fest, including Chris Perrella’s “Sir David and the Dragon,” Alena Bogoly’s “Daughter of the Mask” and “Roberry” by James Belcastro and Matt Cioffi.

Congrats to Murphy and all of the filmmakers of tomorrow.

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