Peter Cetera Symphony 2003 at the Fraze Pavilion, Kettering, OH

Notice: Absolutely no part of this review may be reprinted anywhere without Taka's permission.

On August 8, 2003, Peter Cetera had an outdoor concert with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at The Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio. Well, I am a huge fan of Peter since 1985 [writer's correction '1986'], in which "Glory Of Love" was a huge hit in the world. Since then, I have always been hoping that I would be able to see his live performance in Japan someday. Unfortunately, his first solo tour in Japan has not been realized yet. But in 2003, Peter Cetera has announced plans for a Summer and Fall tour in which he will perform with symphony orchestras around the US. This was his first U.S. tour in 7 years. So I finally decided to go to the US to see his performance; bought a ticket on-line at As I could finally enjoy his concert for the first time in my life, that day was indeed a special day for me. Besides, one of band members is Bruce Gaitsch, the guitar virtuoso and mastermind behind the music. So I could imagine what a great concert it should be. Yup! It should be the greatest unforgettable concert I have ever seen in my life.

In the morning, I went to the venue to find out where it is located. The crew already started setting up the concert stage. After taking pics of the venue, I went to the Air Force Museum to see the sights. After that, I stopped by the venue again. When I got out of the car, I heard a tune familiar to me. Yes! It was "No Explanation." So I dashed for the venue to find out the place where I could catch a glimpse of a rehearsal in progress. But the main entrance was shut down. Hence, I walked around the venue; found a gate beside the stage. From there, I could see him well through a gate. Yes! Peter Cetera was actually THERE!! During soundcheck, Peter sang some sentences of "Baby What a Big Surprise" and "Glory Of Love" and then instructed the members of the Orchestra and the band members what they should do. After watching it, I went back to the hotel to have a break, though the soundcheck still continued. As I wanted to save my outbursts for the night's concert, because, I didn't want to hear it any more. Thus, I managed to hold my excitement, actually.

At about 6:30 p.m., I went back to the venue. As my seat was located in the third row, I had the best views. After a while, Mark, Peter's manager, came into the crowd and said "Hi." Surprisingly, Bruce Gaitsch also said "Hi" to me. This was indeed an honour for me, actually. Anyway, I waited for the show to start. Seconds seemed like hours, and time passed slowly.

At about 8:40 p.m., the concert started with guest conductor Arnie Roth and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Peter's backing band "the Baad Daddies" - Bruce Gaitsch (acoustic guitar), Gene Miller (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), Tony Harrell (keyboards) and Kim Keyes (percussion, backing vocals) playing an instrumental medley of Chicago and Cetera tunes, titled "Cetera Overture / Medley." And then, Peter finally came onto the stage, wearing a black suit with a white shirt, and began "No Explanation"!! Of course, we fans were overjoyed at his appearance all at once. Peter looked great and sounded really well. After that song, Peter went to the PA engineer to correct monitor problems or something by saying, "I need to talk to my friend." Next was "Baby What A Big Surprise." But maybe due to monitor problems or something, Peter nearly missed the beginning of the song. Next was "Glory Of Love," which led me to purchase his album "Solitude/Solitaire" nearly 18 years ago. Yes! I finally heard this song live for the first time in my life! And Peter strapped on an acoustic guitar for the gossamer ballad "If You Leave Me Now." On "After All," backing vocalist Kim Keyes joined Cetera center-stage. When the first few lines of the song were sung, Kim teased Peter with an imitation of Cher's husky voice, and made us laugh by flipping her hair over her shoulder like Cher. After he feigned mock horror and mimed her to cut it out, Kim slipped into her normal singing voice and made the part her own. And then Bruce Gaitsch started playing the familiar guitar intro to "Restless Heart." An "unplugged" version of this song was indeed smooth and mellow. And as one of the show's highlights for many, Peter finally presented "Hard To Say I'm Sorry," finishing with a brassy instrumental titled "Get Away."

During the intermission, the carpet was put down under his mic stand to erase some noise. After a 15-minute intermission, the latter part of the show started with guest conductor Arnie Roth and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra playing an instrumental medley from "West Side Story," titled "Overture - West Side Story." During that overture, Peter and his band members came onto the stage. Peter looked much more refreshed, wearing a black suit with a new black shirt. Then Kim joined Peter for "Feels Like Heaven." I was especially astonished by her impressive vocal range. Needless to say, this song indeed made me feel like heaven! An "unplugged" version of "Even A Fool Can See" was smooth and mellow. After that, Peter remarked that Bill Champlin suggested to Peter that he should perform the song they co-wrote for "Chicago 17." Surprisingly, he also said that he almost forgot this song when Bill made the suggestion, for this song was never played live. But he also said that this was a good time to play this song, for they had a symphony orchestra behind them. Then he began "Remember The Feeling." The opening bar of this song was met with some applause and cheers. Next was "One Good Woman." I just recalled watching him sing this song live on Japanese TV programme in 1988 when he came to Japan for promoting his "One More Story" album. Then Peter was joined by Kim and began "Next Time I Fall" that made me become a bigger and bigger fan of Peter. Thanks to Peter's distinctive voice and Kim's great voice, it was indeed a topnotch performance. As for the Chicago smash "You're The Inspiration," the opening bar of this song was met with loud applause and cheers. Then Peter concluded the proper set with a new rendition of the Chicago classic "25 Or 6 To 4," a song that featured the brass section of an orchestra. He received resounding applause and cheers from the crowd who definitely recognized the Chicago classic.

Live photos courtesy of Laurie Rolan

After receiving thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Peter returned to the stage for an encore of "Have You Ever Been In Love." Backed only by piano, percussion and cello, "Have You Ever Been In Love" was indeed haunting. After that, Peter came back onto the stage again and concluded his show to a thunderous applause and standing ovation by saying that there was no more song to be played. Thus, the concert ended with thunderous applause and a standing ovation around 10:30 p.m. Incidentally, the setlist is as follows:

1. Cetera Overture / Medley
2. No Explanation
3. Baby What A Big Surprise
4. Glory Of Love
5. If You Leave Me Now
6. After All (Duet)
7. Restless Heart - Contrabass Only
8. Hard To Say I'm Sorry / Get Away


1. Overture - West Side Story
2. Feels Like Heaven (Duet)
3. Even A Fool Can See
4. Remember The Feeling
5. One Good Woman
6. Next Time I Fall (Duet)
7. You're The Inspiration
8. 25 Or 6 To 4


9. Have You Ever Been In Love - Cello Only

Well, I thought Peter's crystal voice was perfectly suited for orchestra arrangements. In fact, his golden voice reverberated through the evening air. And Peter remained good-humored throughout, joking with the crowd and interacting with his band members. In fact, he introduced his background/duet vocalist Kim Keyes and his backing band "the Baad Daddies" over and over. He was extremely polite and friendly, thanking the sound, light crew etc. He also mentioned that he wore a smiling skull ring given to him by his daughter Senna. As for weather, it was warm and sticky, with the threat of rain. So Peter was dripping sweat up on a stage and pulled out a handkerchief several times to wipe his face. But he seemed to enjoy being on the stage.

Thus, it was indeed a great show! After the show, furthermore, my lifetime's dream finally came true! Thanks to Mark, Peter's manager, I got to meet the Peter Cetera in person! When I walked to the stage to enter backstage, Bruce Gaitsch was there to chat with fans. Surprisingly, he noticed me and warmly welcomed me! So I asked Bruce to have our photos taken. As I had brought my copy of his album "A Lyre In A Windstorm" to be signed, I also took out a CD and a felt-tip pen; said to Bruce, "May I have your autograph?" Thus, Bruce signed his autograph like this:

By the way, I also showed his wife, Janey Clewer's album "Kiss By Kiss." Cos I just thought Janey might also come to the venue. Bruce was pleasantly surprised by it. I told him I have so many of his songs - especially his songs collaborated with Richard Marx. In fact, I have all the Richard Marx albums, actually. He was astonished to hear that. Thus, we had a nice chat.

Then I asked Bruce how to enter backstage. I already had an after show backstage pass, actually. Surprisingly, Bruce himself took me backstage to a room with the band members! And I met other members - Gene Miller, Tony Harrell, Kim Keyes and conductor Arnie Roth. After having photos of the band, including me, taken, we had a nice chat. Bruce gave me the set list for the show.

After a while, Peter finally came to the room with his family and his manager. I was instantly in a kind of a panic, actually. But Peter was extremely polite and friendly. At first, I handed some gifts to Peter and his family. As Claire did not come to the venue that day, I asked Peter to give gifts to Claire. Then I took out a square piece of thick paper and a felt-tip pen; said to Peter, "May I have your autograph?" "Sure," replied Peter. When I handed it to him, I said, "My name is Taka!" As my felt-tip pen was not sharpie, however, Peter scratched my name a bit but signed his autograph like this:

Then he sat down next to me and listened to me very kindly. I said, "I'm your fan since 1985 [sic]. On that time, I was 13 [sic] years old. I watched you on Japanese TV programme in 1988 when you came to Japan for promoting your "One More Story" album. I've really waited to see your concert for 18 [sic] years. Now I'm 31 years old. My longtime dream finally came true." Peter said to me, "Did you get a nice view?" "Yes! My seat was in the third row. So I could see your performance very well. It was indeed a great show," I replied. And then I said, "Many Japanese fans asked me to report this concert on my website. So of course I will do it for them. But they also came to my site and said they really wanna see your concert in Japan. Cos you've never been to Japan for touring as a solo artist." "I really wanna go to Japan," said Peter honestly. Well, I talked to Peter more, but the rest is secret. Cos it is more private matter.

After that, I took out the Japanese edition of his "You're The Inspiration: A Collection" CD to be signed and a felt-tip pen; said to Peter, "Can I have your autograph on this CD too?" As my felt-tip pen was not sharpie, his manager handed him a sharpie marker for that. When I handed the CD to him, Peter said, "Is it a Japanese CD?" He looked as if he took the Japanese edition of his "You're The Inspiration: A Collection" CD for the first time. He seemed so happy to see it. In fact, Peter signed autographs not only on the album booklet but on the disc itself!!

Then I asked Peter to have our pictures taken. After putting his arm around me, Peter posed for photos with me very graciously. Bruce took pictures of us.

Then Peter asked his manager to prepare a gift of Cetera goodies for me!! Mark, Peter's manager, quickly prepared a great item for me. It was a laminated backstage pass!! Furthermore, Peter kindly singed his autograph on the back of it. So I said, "Arigato," which means "Thank you" in Japanese. Surprisingly, Peter replied to me, saying, "Arigato Gozaimasu," which means "Thank you very much" in Japanese!! Yup! Peter still remembered some Japanese words! Before he left the room, lastly, Peter hugged me saying, "Thank you for coming!"

Thus, a very precious time was finally over. I shall never forget visiting the Fraze Pavilion forever and ever. Like he wrote on the back of a laminated backstage pass, I also hope to see Peter again soon, if possible in Japan! Thank you for sharing the story.

FanFare section of The Official Peter Cetera Fanclub Website

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