A Cuppa Joe

Last night Renee and I joined a couple of close friends for one of those nights you savor, remember and rehash for years. We drove out to LA for dinner and a concert at the Greek Theater to see Chicago, one of my favorite bands for more than four decades. The fellowship was, predictably, the best part, as these are folks we’ve loved since the early 80’s, and the choice of restaurant couldn’t have been better. (The Alcove, if you’re interested, nestled in a tree-covered avenue near The Greek; charming environment; don’t skip dessert!)

But Chicago was, well, amazing. And while Protestant Work Ethic and Rock Concert are phrases you don’t normally pair, really, these boys work hard for the money. They blasted through a two hour-plus rendering of all their greatest hits, in fine voice, fine form, fine everything. Besides being blown away I left with deep respect for their efforts, as they gave their all and clearly enjoyed the ride. Three of the original members are still with them, and you couldn’t ask for a classier display of showmanship, strong vocals and superb instrumentals. (The brass alone – a simple trio of trumpet, sax and trombone sounding like a 12 piece combo – would have been worth it.)

Al Pacino showed up – I’m not kidding – along with Joe Mantegna, both of whom had stage time. I mean really, how much can you ask for in one night?

I was bouncing and clapping and generally making a fool of myself when they broke into Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?, and while singing along I thought, half sad but half amused, “Well no, we probably don’t.”

We don’t know how late we are as a planet, much less a nation, in the scheme of things. We don’t know when we’re going to die, though our appointment with the experience is guaranteed barring Christ’s return beforehand. (Hebrews 9:27) Speaking of which, we surely don’t know when to expect that, though it gets harder every year to think we won’t see it in our lifetime. So when it comes to critical, unavoidable dates, does anybody really know what time it is?

Then again, we’re not asked to. Jesus said “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42) Note He didn’t say “Know when Your Lord comes.” Just know that He will, be ready, occupy until then and live in expectation.

There’s a mandate we can grasp, and it’s no burden. With that in mind, there’s a plough to keep your hand to this weekend, as surely as there’s good music to enjoy, good friends to love, good food to relish. I hope you have plenty of all three. God bless. Thanks for being here.





apronheadlilly | Aug 3, 2013

A friend up here posted that he was at that concert and also enjoyed it a lot. I am waiting for the Beatles and the Birds reunion tour . . oh, wait.

John | Aug 3, 2013

Thanks Joe. Your blogs are always well written, powerful and inspiring. (My youngest son is in his senior year of high school. The marching band he is a part of will do songs from Chicago throughout the football season this year. Looking forward to it.)

randallslack | Aug 4, 2013

Saw them in my B.C. Days at a little club in Anaheim. They were in Southern California to finish the mix on their first album (the best, IMHO). Sat on a sawdust covered floor. It was a very relaxing atmosphere as the spoke to the audience and we spoke to them (there were only about 30 people there - nobody knew who they were!). So cool! Still one of my favorite bands to this day.

Andy Gennarelli | Aug 18, 2013

I read this to the Sunday School class I lead today as an intro to Ecclesiastes 9 ... One of the students observed " Mr. Dallas went to LA to see Chicago!!" ... Thought I'd share that!!

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