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CHICAGO Live By Request
(Warner Music Vision) (2004)
Jazz rock pioneers give a blank sheet of paper to their audience...

Ageing rockers may remember the first incarnation of Chicago, who back in the late sixties blended jazz and rock and had several best-selling albums and singles.

Fast forward a decade and the band had reinvented themselves. Without guitarist Terry Kath who infamously had blown his brains out in a gun accident in 1978, and with the brass section muted, they reinvented themselves with fluffy AOR at a time when 'Rumours' period Fleetwood Mac was de rigeur.

Fast forward again to 2002 and a special concert in New York when TV listeners were allowed to call or email the set-list. This is predictable enough with 'Beginnings' and '25 Or 6 To 4' from the earlier period, and 'If You Leave Me Now' from the later. This DVD is a straight lift from the TV show, with the addition of two songs that were not aired in the original broadcast.

The links and phoned-in messages do become a little tedious on replay and the presentation veers towards cabaret at times. A glance at the band's recent discography is also a certain indication of terminal decline: practically every recent release has been a live album.

As a celebration of a hugely successful band, this DVD is adequate enough, but 'treading water' and 'resting on laurels' (or more appropriately, former royalties) is what comes to mind most of all.


Review by David Randall

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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