Peter Cetera has had the type of success that very few performers will ever achieve.
In a career that now stretches over 40 years, he has sold millions of albums worldwide, written and recorded No. 1 songs and been nominated for numerous awards, including Grammys, Golden Globes and an Academy Award for best song in a movie.
Stars with that kind of resume typically don't have (or want) a lot of direct interaction with their fans when they're not onstage. Cetera, however, isn't one of those stars.
The 62-year-old singer/songwriter frequently answers as much fan mail on his Web site, www.petercetera.com, as he can. He also recently started a program where members of his fan club can meet with him after shows, have a group picture taken with him onstage and then see that picture posted on his Web site.
His reason for being so fan-friendly? Simply because a lot of artists aren't. "I go on (the Web site) constantly, adding stuff ... personal pictures," Cetera said by phone from his home in Ketchum, Idaho. "It's a lot of fun. And people are appreciative. When you say 'Hello' to someone on a site, they love it. They go bananas."
Cetera also still knows how to treat fans to a memorable concert experience.
For the past few years, Cetera has been playing symphony shows. His sold-out concert at the Tuacahn Amphitheater in St. George on Saturday is no exception.
Cetera said that before he started doing symphony concerts, he had actually stopped touring. "It was a nice way to get back into it. It takes me away from doing an oldies-but-goodies tour. I've sort of done that already. When you're touring, if you don't have something new to sell, it turns into an oldies thing over and over.
"(Doing a symphony show) got me enthused to do some songs I haven't done before. It gave me inspiration and made it a little more fun to go on the road. It's fun for me, and it's proven to be fun for the people who come to it."
Cetera has scored big hits over the years as a solo artist with such songs as "Glory of Love," "The Next Time I Fall" (a duet with Amy Grant) and "Restless Heart."
He may be best known, however, for being the bass-playing former lead singer of Chicago. The band achieved its greatest success during the Cetera era, with Peter co-writing and taking lead vocals on such Chicago classics as "If You Leave Me Now," "Baby What A Big Surprise," "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" and "You're The Inspiration."
Cetera parted ways with Chicago in 1985. Almost unbelievably, however, he is still approached by fans who think he's still with the band, even though he hasn't performed with Chicago for 22 years. "It's amazing to me. I've been out of the band longer than I was in it. That period of time was special with a lot of baby boomers and was really important music in their lives."
Unfortunately, Cetera said many of those fans stopped buying CDs after 1985. Although he understands how some fans who related to that era of Chicago would like to see a reunion, Cetera, who gets asked the reunion question all too often ("It's like talking about an ex-wife"), said it most likely will never happen. "I don't feel the need to delve into the past. I don't know why so many people are wound up in that."
What is more likely for the immediate future is another solo record with the right label. "I'm the kind of person that I need to have something to write for. I do my best work on a deadline. I don't have a lot of fun waiting around. I need something to work toward.
"I would love to do something with new material. I think it's going to come soon. It'll come eventually, when I know there's some place to put it and have an outlet for it. This is a good time for me musically right now."
Also in Cetera's future is surgery. Cetera, who is still active in mountain biking, snowboarding and other outdoor activities, recently tore his rotator cuff during a basketball game. The injury, however, will not prevent him from playing guitar in concert.
And the reason he's putting off his surgery ... so he wouldn't have to cancel shows and disappoint his fans.
If you go
What: Peter Cetera
Where: Tuacahn Amphitheatre, Ivins
When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
How much: $39 and $69