Image Entertainment // 2003 // 83 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // December 7th, 2011
The Windy City never sounded so sweet.
Oh Chicago, how you got me through so many of my youthful heartbreaks and indiscretions. Where would I have been without the smooth, lite rock vocals of Peter Cetera on "Hard Habit to Break?" Or the unabashed sentimentality of "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" (the go to song when you really screwed up)? Of course, I really only knew Chicago during their '80s heydays, not realizing that the band had been around for many years before that. As I got older I started to learn a bit more about theri history.
Chicago was formed in the late 1960s and released their first studio album in 1969 (betcha didn't know they've been around since...oh, say Vietnam). Their jazzy pop influence propelled the band into superstar status, solidified by songs like "Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?" and "Saturday in the Park." As the 1980s drew near, the band took on Peter Cetera as a new vocalist and churned out a seemingly endless stream of pop ballads for the brokenhearted. While the hits dried up after the early 1990s, Chicago still releases music (33 albums and counting) and has enjoyed a robust touring schedule so fans can hear their favorite songs live and in person.
In 2003 Chicago recorded a live concert as part of WTTW's Soundstage series on PBS. The show is a nice tribute to the band's staying power with songs that, while never quite cutting edge (time has dulled their original groundbreaking jazz fusion), are still a lot of fun to hear live on stage. The band dips into their back catalog quite often and pulls out a lot of gems ("25 or 6 to 4" is a personal favorite). They do a fine job of counterbalancing old standards with '80s hits (three cheers for "If You Leave Me Now") while sprinkling in a few of their newer songs for good measure.
This concert is a great addition to any Chicago fan's collection. One of the things that I like about Chicago -- heck, one of the things I like about a lot of bands -- is that they don't have a flashy stage show; this means the band rises or falls by the quality of the music (you know, the reason I even go to concerts to begin with). Chicago's lineup includes Robert Lamm, Walt Parazaider, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Bill Champlin, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden and Keith Howland, and all of the musicians play their parts well. As a fan of the '80s incarnation, I have to admit to being slightly disappointed that Peter Cetera isn't around anymore (he left in the mid 1980s); his unique vocals are truly missed on some of his original songs.
Yet Cetera's absence is just a quibble. I really enjoyed spending an hour and a half with Chicago and taking in their music. I had a flood of memories come back to while listening to this disc -- including junior high dances where I never got to dance with a girl (aaaaaand now I'm sad again). Chicago: Live in Concert is a nice overview of the band's hits and deep cuts, making this trip to the Windy City worthwhile.
The set list for this performance:
* "Make Me Smile"
* "Color My World"
* "Now More Than Ever"
* "If You Leave Me Now"
* "Hard Habit To Break"
* "Saturday In The Park"
* "Just You 'N' Me"
* "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"
* "Feelin' Stronger Everyday"
* "I'm A Man"
* "Hard To Say I'm Sorry / Get Away"
* "25 or 6 to 4"
Chicago: Live in Concert (Blu-ray) is presented in 1.78:1/1080i high definition widescreen, and I don't have a lot of complaints. The image looks very good (shot on digital video) with no visible imperfections or issues. The only downside to a concert not being flashy is that the image isn't all that flashy, either. Colors are well rendered and black levels are solid. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is the real technical standout. Most fans of music concerts care more about what it sounds like than looks like, and I can tell you that the soundtrack is 100% great. All of the speakers are utilized to great effect. The music comes in loud and clear and allows viewers to truly feel like they've got front row tickets to this show. For those excited by the prospect of having Chicago perform right in their living room, Chicago: Live in Concert is the next best thing. Also included on this disc is a LPCM 2.0 mix in English.
No extras have been included on this release.
Chicago: Live in Concert is a worthwhile purchase for fans of the band. Or the city. Take your pick.
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site