Chicago: VI Decades Live (This Is What We Do) will be released on April 6th. This 4CD + 1DVD set features six decades of previously unreleased Chicago live recordings.
The first two CDs in the set are dedicated to the band’s performance at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 and showcase songs from their first two albums.
The remaining two CDs feature select live performances from 1969 to 2014, including a trio of songs recorded in Paris in 1969: “Poem For The People”, “25 or 6 to 4” and “Liberation.” Other highlights include deep tracks like “A Hit By Varèse” (1973), “Takin’ It On Uptown” (1977) and “Forever” (1987), as well as songs from Chicago’s 1994 big band tour: “In The Mood” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”
The DVD in this set showcases a performance recorded live in February of 1977 for the German music television station Rockpalast. With incredible renditions of “Saturday In The Park,” “Just You ‘n’ Me,” “Call On Me” and “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long/Mogonuleosis” as well as covers of the Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life” and The Spencer Davis Groups’s “I’m A Man,” it is a fascinating overview of the band’s career up to that point. Also included as a bonus on the DVD is the band’s fan favorite performance of “What’s This World Comin’ To” from the 1973 ABC television special, Chicago In The Rockies.
Chicago is currently on the road performing performing their Chicago II album in its entirety as the first set in the show. The band released a brand new remix of the album last year. They will also be hitting the road this summer for a Co-Headlining Tour with REO Speedwagon.
Chicago II – Remix
In the wake of their hit debut album Chicago Transit Authority (which was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014) Chicago recorded their sophomore album Chicago II in 1969. When it was released in 1970, the album emerged as an instant sensation, quickly achieving a platinum certification. It featured one of the band’s now signature songs “25 or 6 to 4” as well two other Top 10 hits “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World.” Even now, nearly 50 years after its release, Chicago II still sounds like nothing else, drawing on a wide variety of influences from orchestral music to heavy rock.
Though the album has been remixed since its original release, many have wished for a more nuanced mix of the double LP. Now, thanks to the work of British musician and producer Steven Wilson, a new remix is available. The original tracks were laid down on 16-track multi-track tapes which has made it possible for Wilson to illuminate elements that were previously muffled.
Wilson explains: “Working with high-resolution 96K/24 bit digitally transferred files, I had every element from the recording sessions isolated, which meant I was able to rebuild the mix from the drums upwards, recreating as closely as I could the equalization, stereo placement, reverbs, other effects, and volume changes of each individual instrument or vocal – but at the same time looking to gain definition and clarity in the overall sound.”
The result is a new stereo version of Chicago II that boasts a clarity, definition and impact that it didn’t have before.
“So rich was their creative seam at the time that, like their debut, and the album that followed this one, it was a two record set,” says Wilson. “In fact, with unprecedented boldness the run of double albums was only broken by their fourth which was a quadruple (live) set! I consider all of these albums to be classics, but perhaps Chicago II is the pre-eminent masterpiece. It’s got everything: moments of tender beauty to power riffs and scorched-earth jazz-rock, catchy melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies. When I first heard it as a teenager I was captivated by the mixture of jazz, blues, pop, classical, progressive and heavy rock styles, including both improvisational elements and intricate arrangements, and by songs written and sung by several different members, all with their own unique personality. How could that possibly hang together?! But it does, and brilliantly so.”