Peter Cetera's second set was stronger than his first. Not that the songs were better. It was just that the former Chicago bassist/vocalist didn't seem as nervous, and he appeared more comfortable as he hit those trademark high tenor notes.
During his first set Thursday in Abravanel Hall, Cetera, who performed with his own band the Baad Daadies, backed by select members of the Utah Symphony appeared a bit tentative and restless when he walked to his microphone. And when he launched into Chicago's hit "Baby What a Big Surprise," after a false start, he was a little flat. It took a couple of songs, "Glory of Love" and "If You Leave Me Now," before Cetera calmed down a bit.
None of this bothered the audience, however. They greeted the former Chicago native, who now lives in Idaho, with a warm standing ovation.
The audience had good reason to cheer loudly, and it wasn't just because Cetera was in town. The concert was being filmed for an upcoming DVD and live CD. Video cameras were on the stage, and even on the balcony, hanging from cranes.
"It's to answer the question of 'Where's Peter Cetera now?' " the singer joked.
For "After All," Cetera recruited singer Kim Keyes to fill in for Cher. Keyes held her own and even did her best Cher impression before returning to her normal singing voice. (Which, by the way sounded better than Cher's would have in this live setting.) Keyes also filled in for Amy Grant on "Next Time I Fall" during the second set.
When she wasn't dueting, Keyes could be seen tapping off some rhythms on a djembe.
"Restless Heart," a cover of the Beatles' "Lady Madonna," "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" complete with a sweeping "Get Away" coda wrapped up the first half of the evening.
When Cetera returned,he wasted no time in delighting the audience with Chicago's "Remember the Feeling," his own "One Good Woman" and the platinum-selling Chicago song "You're the Inspiration" were performed with conviction.
He finished with an acoustic-turned-Latin-groove jam of the early Chicago hit "25 or 6 to 4." His one-song encore was a nice little cello-and-piano arrangement of "Have You Ever Been in Love?"
While the orchestra played well the entire evening, there were times when the sweeping melodies may have been a bit too relaxing. Some audience members could be seen nodding off during some of the more mellow tunes.
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