Chicago Records Dist.
Pop/Rock, Jazz-Rock, AM Pop, Contemporary Pop/Rock

Album Review

After issuing three consecutive studio double LPs, Chicago topped themselves with this four-album live box set. As the title suggests, At Carnegie Hall, Vols. 1-4 (Chicago IV) (1971) finds the band at the venerable New York City venue during a five-night stand (April 5-April 10) in the spring of 1971. The septet -- which includes the respective talents of Terry Kath (lead guitar/vocals), Robert Lamm (keyboards/vocals), Peter Cetera (bass/vocals), Danny Seraphine (drums), Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), James Pankow (trombone), and Walter Parazaider (woodwinds/vocals) -- were at their unquestionable peak of initial popularity. Their previous three double LPs continued extended runs on the pop album chart and likewise spawned a number of hit singles. So by the time the group hit the Big Apple for these shows, they were among the hottest things happening. Chicago's set list is wholly representative of the material from Chicago Transit Authority (1969), Chicago II (1970), and Chicago III (1971) and includes several extended multi-song medleys from each. The band winds its way through muscular versions of the epic "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon," "Travel Suite," as well as lengthy renderings of deeper cuts such as "South California Purples," "Fancy Colours," and the ten-minute-plus opening "In the Country." One of the set's most notable highlights is the politically charged "For Richard and His Friends." The lengthy and well-jammed-out cut is both groovy and propulsive. However, the acoustics at Carnegie Hall are quite frankly not (and really never have been) properly suited for heavily amplified music. While the percussion and electric guitars are clearly audible, the woodwind and brass section come off sounding extremely thin and devoid of any real timbre. This is unfortunate, as a primary component of the band is the contrasting textures between the two. Enthusiasts seeking a much more sonically accurate portrait should by whatever means necessary locate the Live in Japan 1972 two-CD set -- which also includes tracks from Chicago's fifth effort.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. In the Country
  2. Fancy Colours
  3. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? [Free Form Intro]
  4. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?
  5. South California Purples
  6. Questions 67 and 68
  7. Sing a Mean Tune Kid
  8. Beginnings
  9. It Better End Soon: 1st Movement
  10. It Better End Soon: 2nd Movement (Flute Solo)
  11. It Better End Soon: 3rd Movement (Guitar Solo)
  12. It Better End Soon: 4th Movement
  13. It Better End Soon: 5th Movement
  14. Introduction
  15. Mother
  16. Lowdown
  17. Flight 602
  18. Motorboat to Mars
  19. Free
  20. Where Do We Go from Here?
  21. I Don't Want Your Money
  22. Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home
  23. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: Make Me Smile
  24. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: So Much to Say, So Much to Give
  25. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: Anxiety's Moment
  26. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: West Virginia Fantasies
  27. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: Colour My World
  28. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: To Be Free
  29. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon: Now More Than Ever
  30. A Song for Richard and His Friends
  31. 25 or 6 to 4
  32. I'm a Man