Chicago on DVD Audio
Chicagos second album is probably the bands most remembered, and
this DVD-Audio version is not only a great trip down memory lane, its
a great audio experience as well.
"Chicago Transit Authority" blended rock with jazz and big band, bringing non-traditional
instruments such as a horn section to pop music. Its an interesting blend
of hard rock guitar, blazing horns, jazz and R&B textures blended seamlessly
and nearly uniquely (remember Vehicle by Ides of March?) and with
three distinctly different lead vocalists giving different songs different seasoning.
Chicago II was originally a 2 disc set and turning that into a single disc
incarnation doesnt do anything to destroy the albums flow or feel.
In fact it's better, because you no longer have get up off your duff and flip
it over (or change discs). There's a blend of standalone songs such as In
the Country and Make Me Smile as well as the tuneful Ballet
for a Girl in Buchanan and the Anti-Vietnam war It Better End Soon.
The latter suite is easily the weakest part of the disc, as it takes the music
from light and airy to depressing and pretentious. We can understand, in the
context of when this ablum was released, why it was there, but c'mon; as Laura
Ingraham says "Shut up and sing!" Obviously, we werent fans of this part
of the album at all; fortunately, its at the end and so you can easily
just shut if off after Memories of Love though to be fair
that leaves the listening experience feeling incomplete - and not all of the
antiwar suite sucks.
Besides such hits as Make Me Smile, the Ballet for a Girl In Buchanan
suite includes two of Chicagos classic hits: "Make Me Smile" (featuring
some excellent solo guitar work) and the flautists favorite "Colour My
World." And melodies such as that on "Fancy Colours" stick to you, running around
inside your head long after youve taken the disc out of the DVD player.
By the way, though this album may be known popularly as Chicago II, its
really titled Chicago, and though we kind of lost track of the band over the
years, to us it represents Chicago at its very best, especially when you hold
it up against such later tunes as Feeling Stronger Every Day which,
while a nifty song, seems more hard and overproduced and deliberately
top 40 than the seemingly more personal tunes here.
Indeed, other than our problems with It Better End Soon, were
hard pressed to find a song on this disc that we didnt like for one reason
or another; there are even some we didn't care for musically but which we thought
made excellent demo discs to show off the home theater and DVD-Audio technology.
And so far as the sound is concerned, were very pleased with this DVD-Audio.
It features 5.1 surround and stereo versions, so purists can partake of the
stereo mix enhanced by DVD-As high resolution output while the adventurous
(or those willing to paint a moustache on the Mona Lisa, depending on your outlook)
can partake of a nifty surround mix that envelops the listener with instruments.
Unlike other discs that use the surround tracks to create a more live
sound, this 5.1 mix does surround you with instruments, but overall theyve
done a nice job with the remix. Instruments come at you from all around, at
least periodically, but never at the expense of the music. And though, to purists,
its undoubtedly gimmicky it never really sounded gimmicky to us.
Overall sound quality, regardless of whether you use the stereo or 5.1 version,
is excellent. This thirty-some year old album sounds terrific, as if it were
recorded much more recently. It aint perfect, but its probably as
close as you can get from an older analog recording.
The disc also includes a decent liner booklet that gives some good insight
into the album and the band Chicago of the time. There's also a photo gallery.
We heartily recommend this disc both for its sonic and its musical quality.
1. Movin' In
2. The Road
3. Poem For The People
4. I the Country
5. Wake Up Shineshine
6. Make Me Smile
7. So Much To Say, So Much To Give
8. Anxiety's Moment
9. West Virginia Fantasies
10. Colour My World
11. To Be Free
12. Now More Than Ever
13. Fancy Coours
14. 25 Or 6 To 4
16. A.M. Mourning
17. P.M. Murning
18. Memories Of Love
19. 1st Movement
20. 2nd Movement
21. 3rd Movement
22. 4th Movement
23. Where Do We Go From Here
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