You would recognise Peter Cetera’s voice from a mile away.
The former Chicago frontman’s unique vocals was apparently the result of having to sing for a period of time with a wired-shut jaw after getting into a brawl at a Los Angeles Dodgers game in 1969.
Still, it has taken him places and he demonstrated that quality at his one-night concert at the Mega Star Arena, Kuala Lumpur, on Sept 6.
The Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter, who was on his South-East Asia tour, offered a nice mix of old and new, along with a variety of solo hits made famous during his time with Chicago. Dressed in a dapper suit, Cetera and his seven-member Nashville, Tennessee-based band slowly built up the pace as the evening progressed.
Throughout the night, Cetera attempted to connect with the crowd. He shared little stories about how his songs came to be. He told of how he wrote The Glory Of Love for the movie Rocky IV, only to have it passed on, then picked for The Karate Kid Part II. It got nominated for Best Song in the Academy Awards.
Yes, he belted out some upbeat songs such as Restless Heart and Dialogue but somehow, his ballads had the edge over them. Also, the audience recognised his slower tunes more and had glazed look in their eyes over After All, If You Leave Me Now, Hard Habit To Break and You’re The Inspiration, which was rejected by Kenny Rogers, the singer said, but ended up as a No. 1 single for Chicago.
The American performer closed the main set with his 1982 No. 1 hit with Chicago, Hard To Say I’m Sorry, which had the packed arena singing along.
The almost two-hour concert really kicked into high gear only during the encore. Cetera, playing the bass guitar, opened it with a fairly rocking version of Spencer Davis Group’s I’m A Man, which Chicago covered on its first album.
He followed that with Chicago’s rocking 1973 hit Feelin’ Stronger Every Day. A sudden bust of energy ensued from the band, and the crowd also swayed along. It was as if they had saved the best for last.
And he closed with what is widely considered as Chicago’s signature hit, 25 Or 6 To 4.
Never mind that many of the arrangements had a different spin to them and his high tenor voice didn’t quite reach all the falsetto notes at times.
At 72, Cetera still wowed the audience.