Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chicago- Live in '75

So I spend my Saturday mornings listening to Chicago bootlegs, what's it to you? Easily the best of the city/state named bands (Kansas, Boston, Salem, Alabama), this 2011 Rhino reissue showcases a three night run of shows the band played at the Capital Centre in Maryland in June of 1975 when the band was at the peak of its powers, having released 8 consecutive gold records in just 6 years. Chicago was the most successful billboard singles charting band of the 1970s, but many will remember them for their syrupy ballads in the post Peter Cetera era. They were one of the first bands to successfully augment a progressive rock sound with a horn section. Songs like "Wishing You Were Here", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is",  and "Saturday In The Park" evoke a specific, yet undefinable, time and space with the very distinctive Chicago sound; mellow grooves punctuated by rousing horn fills overlain by Terry Cath's casual vocal delivery and Cetera's more emotive vocals.
The '75 tour also saw Chicago doing a massive stadium tour with the Beach Boys (who provided backing vocals on "Wishing You Were Here"). All the hits are here, the above mentioned, as well as: "Just You N Me", "25 or 6 to 4", "Beginnings", "Make Me Smile", "(I've Been) Searching So Long", and "Feeling Stronger Every Day". The sound quality is spotty, sounding like an audience taping, not a soundboard recording, and the instruments often sound tinny and distant. It is, however, a good document of a band at the peak of its power. You won't win any hipness points by listening to this, that's for sure, but who gives a shit. Do what feels right.

Buy this record if you can't access FM radio and The Eagles Hotel California is staring you in the face.


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