Chicago

A&E Live by Request

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Around the time of the band's 35th anniversary in 2002, Chicago did a live show on the A&E network, taking requests from fans by phone and e-mail. Here's the DVD commemoration of the event, the hour-and-a-half-plus release also including periodic brief interviews by host and newscaster Mark McEwen as well as un-thrilling taped congratulations from Dick Clark, Jay Leno, and the cast of The Sopranos. To the bandmembers' credit, Chicago sounds pretty much as it did at the group's 1970s commercial peak, with four original members (Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walter Parazaider) still in tow. Don't expect, however, a spontaneous and unpredictable set list somewhat along the lines of a Grateful Dead or Elvis Costello show, even given the pretext of requests unknown to the band beforehand. Instead, it ends up being pretty much a nostalgic greatest-hits program, including many of the biggies, like "Saturday in the Park," "Beginnings," "25 or 6 to 4," "Feelin' Stronger Every Day," "You're the Inspiration," "Color My World," "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "If You Leave Me Now," and "Make Me Smile." The fact of the matter is that every one of the songs was a Top 30 hit (only two of them postdating 1976), the only mild surprise being an acoustic version of "Look Away." The only bonus material on the disc offers two additional songs taken from the same performance but not included on the main program, "Just You 'n' Me" and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away."