Once upon a time, Chicago (the rock band) were a bunch of young musicians playing politically charged songs and fiery arrangements featuring their horn section and the blistering lead guitar work of the late Terry Kath. With 3 lead singers, (Kath, bassist Peter Cetera, and keyboardist Robert Lamm), Chicago had a lot of range in their blend of rock, jazz, soul, blues, and protest folk. They were extremely prolific, too. Their first three albums were all doubles, and this live album was actually a 4-record set. Apparently they were the first rock band to sell out an entire week of shows at Carnegie Hall, so the whole thing was recorded and distilled into this massive collection. Everything that Chicago did well at the time is represented here, and the band played tight and the energy is preserved in the grooves of both the songs and the album. Once Terry Kath died of an accidental gunshot wound, the band shifted its focus to a more radio friendly style throughout the ’80’s, making boatloads of money in the process. For my money, this earlier period of the band was the best…songs like 25 Or 6 To 4, South California Purples, Mother, Lowdown, Colour My World, Make Me Smile, A Song For Richard And His Friends, Beginnings, and their jamming cover of I’m A Man rocked my young trumpet player’s mind, and nurtured my desire to learn guitar, which I did several years later.
Written By Braddon S. Williams