Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live in Japan '72
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Listen to Samples
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If I had to choose...
DM | 01/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...between CHICAGO AT CARNEGIE HALL and LIVE IN JAPAN, I'd have to pick the former; it covers more ground and is a more essential part of their catalog. I don't agree with the critics who say this album is much better than CARNEGIE; even the sound quality isn't really better (especially with CARNEGIE's recent remastering). Still, LIVE IN JAPAN will definitely be of interest to any fan of the original Chicago.
When I first got this album as a 2-LP Japanese import, I thought it was the most beautiful album package I had ever seen, right down to the physical LPs. (I had never before seen such lengthy LP sides -- all but Side 3 were over 26 minutes, with Side 1 running over 28 minutes -- and that just added to the overall sense that this was a quality-made product.) To say the CD package doesn't do justice is an understatement.
The original Chicago is a fun band to hear live. Every member gets their moment in the spotlight, which is especially cool with a band this size. (Contrast that with all the music videos, etc., where it's all about the lead singer and everyone else is almost anonymous.) It's fun to hear them have a great time onstage, cheering each other on and introducing each other to the audience.
LIVE IN JAPAN was an oddity in Chicago's catalog -- a Japan-only live album, not released in the U.S. until many years later. Was it meant to replace CARNEGIE in Japan or be a companion album? Hard to tell.
Anyway, as far as the music goes: There are a few songs from CHICAGO V, plus the then previously unreleased "Mississippi Delta City Blues" which would finally appear in its definitive version on CHICAGO XI. (Terry's vocal here is really sloppy, so I'm glad this didn't end up being the only released version of the song.) Everything else is a repeat from CARNEGIE, and some of the alternate live versions justify their existence better than others. This version of CARNEGIE's one new song, "A Song For Richard And His Friends" (with Lamm actually mentioning the CARNEGIE album in the intro), is unnecessary; it's missing the beginning of the song, yet still manages to be longer than the original. (And what was the point of the extended "free-form guitar" passages anyway??) "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" and its "Free Form Intro" aren't needed alongside the CARNEGIE versions either (although the opening joke by Pankow(?) makes this worth it). There are two songs in Japanese, which makes for an interesting, but not really worthwhile, twist. (I wonder how the Japanese translators, who had co-credits on these songs on the original LP version, feel about their names being omitted from the CD version?) But the "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon" and "Beginnings" are better here than on CARNEGIE, and the 7-1/2 minute version (not counting audience noise) of "25 or 6 to 4" is killer. Most interesting is "I'm A Man"; for its first 3 minutes it's the song as we know it (with Chicago's incorrect reading of the original lyrics, as always!); then there's 3 minutes of a bass guitar-led jam (the ONLY bass solo in Chicago's entire catalog) which is my favorite part of the album; finally there's a 5-minute drum solo which is NOT the "I'm A Man" drum solo but actually an extended (and unlisted) "Motorboat To Mars", complete with segue into "Free".
To sum up: Not a replacement for (or improvement on) CARNEGIE, but definitely worth seeking out for the Chicago fan.
The ultimate live album.....
Michael R. Delfin | Houston, Texas USA | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the release of the re-mastered Carnegie Hall album just around the corner, I have to say this is still the ultimate
Chicago Live album. I remember seeing Chicago a couple of months before this album was recorded. I guess you will notice how Saturday in the Park was never introduced. They performed it that way the night I saw them and for weeks I told my friends that they played a new song that night that was awesome.
When they asked me what was the title...I said something like ..The 4th of July..Duhhh.."
As Good As Carnegie Hall, Not As Good As 26
Gord o' The Books | SE Michigan | 06/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like to think of Chicago Live In Japan as The Greatest Hits, Vol.2, Part II. Both came out about the same time. It is a way to wrap up the 70s, and enjoy Terry Kath one more time, before Chicago's massive reinvention of itself in 1982.
It is hard to compare this CD to the Carnegie Hall album, especially since the Rhino reissue came out (with improvements to the sound and bonus tracks). I agree with one reviewer, that they do not sound quite as tired as they do on Carnegie Hall. There is more of a pop feel, and no extended guitar solos (which some people will like). The Ballet is treated with more respect (they don't do that goofy "yah yah yah" bit of West Virginia Fantasies), and Free/I'm A Man are way better than on Carnegie Hall. And I agree that the sound quality on the original release is better than Carnegie Hall. A Song For Richard And His Friends is better on CH.
But I like it, and any Chicago fan should have it, as well as CH. I also think that collectors of 70s live albums would love it.
At $70 a pop, only the most serious fans will be buying it. Here's hoping Rhino gets it reissued soon (and I'll bet they do!)."