This concert, recorded in 2003, arrived at blu ray with 1080i AVC/MPEG-4 1.78:1 encode on a BD-25 disc. Soundstage is a joint production between WTTW and HD Ready, LLC, whose founder Joe Thomas directed Chicago Live in Concert. The picture is extremely clear and detailed, with deep blacks. Colours are rich and well saturated. (4/5)
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless track has clarity and punch, and it is particularly effective at delivering the individual wind instruments so that one can distinguish trumpet from sax, trombone from flute, etc. Percussion, vocals and the all-important brass section remain spread across the front three speakers, and they sound wonderful. The bass is strong but never overpowering. The sound engineers have decided to choose a fixed position for a particular instrument, e.g., guitar in the left rear. It is a little weird when you have a close up of the guitarist playing in front of you, and the sound, instead of coming from the front, was still at the left rear.
There was also an uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 track for the 2-channel purist. The sound was all in the front of course, but the result was quite pleasant. (Both Audio: 4/5)
Chicago was formed in 1969, formerly known as The Big Thing, then, Chicago Transit Authority. At that time, the members consisted of Peter Cetera (vocal), Robert Lamm (vocal, keyboard), James Pankow (trombone), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), Walt Parazaider (sax), Terry Kath (vocal, guitar), and Danny Seraphine (drums). Kath died in 1981, replaced by Donnie Dacus (1978-1980). Bill Champlin (guitar, keyboard) joined in 1981. Peter Cetera left in 1985, replaced by Jason Scheff (bass, vocal). Seraphine left in 1990.
The current roster consisted of Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Lee Loughnane, Walt Parazaider (original members), joined by Bill Champlin, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden (drums) and Keith Howard (guitar).
The major part missing was of course the voice of Peter Cetera. But the overall members of the band remained intact.
Chicago has 50 charted hits on Billboard Hot 100, with three hitting #1 (If You Leave Me Now, Hard To Say I'm Sorry and Look Away). The former two were performed in the concert, except Look Away. The songs included Make Me Smile (9/1970), Colour My World (7/1971), Now More Than Ever (from LP Chicago II, 1970), If You Leave Me Now (1/1976), Hard Habit To Break (3/1984), Saturday In The Park (3/1972), Beginnings (7/1971), Just You `N' Me (4/1973), Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (7/1970), Feelin' Stronger Every Day (10/1973), I'm A Man (49/1971), Hard To Say I'm Sorry/Get Away (from Chicago 16, 1982), Free (20/1971) and 25 or 6 To 4 (4/1970).
The concert was only 83 minutes long...kinda short. I would have loved to hear them sing: You're The Inspiration (3/1984), Look Away (1/1988), Baby What A Big Surprise (4/1977) and Will You Still Love Me (3/1986).
I usually have mixed feelings watching recent concerts performed by artists who have passed their prime, or most of the original members were missing. But this Chicago concert did not disappoint me. I was really very pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the entire concert was, and how fast 87 minutes passed away. Baby What A Big Surprise...Highly recommended.
For people who missed the sound of Peter Cetera, his solo concert (blu ray) will be released on December 6, 2011.