Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chicago - Live at Carnegie Hall (1971 - LP) (2005 - CD)

For over three decades this original four LP set, later released on 3 CDs, was a sad disappointment. Great individual performances, especially some excellent, white hot, guitar pyrotechnics from the late Terry Kath, were overshadowed by the bad recording and production that made Chicago's signature attraction, their horn section, sound like kazoos.

Thankfully, for all fans of this great band, in 2005 Rhino Records released a very good remastering of the entire original album and added a fourth bonus CD of previously unissued songs from the set of concerts. The week of shows this album was taken from were recorded in April 1971.

Don't laugh rock n' roll fans. This is a very different Chicago than some of you may remember. The album was recorded at a time when rock was king, when eclecticism, improvisation, and inspirational songwriting were not only expected, but demanded of an artist.

Previous to this remastering, the rare Live In Japan was the best example of what Chicago's original lineup could do live. That is no longer the case. Japan doesn't have the fine individual performances that Carnegie Hall offers and there is nowhere else you can find live versions of early Chicago classics such as "Listen," "Sing A Mean Tune Kid," "In The Country," "Introduction," and "South California Purples." These gems sit alongside more famous Chicago fare such as "The Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon," "25 Or 6 To 4," "Beginnings," "Free," and more.

Wonderfully repackaged with the original liner notes and posters that came with the original album Chicago Live At Carnegie Hall is the missing digital link from Chicago's classic early period, way back when they really were the rock band with horns.


  1. I always avoided this one, but perhaps I might just give it a listen.

  2. I should, as well, since both you and comedian (and former MCA Records rep) Jimmy Pardo agitate for them at their best so readily...and I certainly remember as jr/sr high school trombonist doing my sorry best to get the tones right on "25 or 6 to 4"...