Chicago II: Live on Soundstage


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Chicago II: Live on Soundstage Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Chicago II: Live on Soundstage documents a 2017 live performance (the exact date isn't specified) that the latter-day lineup of Chicago gave of their celebrated second album. Released at the dawn of 1970, Chicago -- which later came to be called Chicago II following years of numerical titles -- spread over two LPs in its original incarnation, yet it's tightened slightly in live performance, retaining all of its songs yet losing 14 of its 74 minutes due to both the breathlessness of the stage and the trimming of the suites. This suits the vibe of the latter-day Chicago, who is punchier and cheerier than the 1970s version of the band. In their hands, Chicago II -- which is one of their artier records -- becomes a proud exercise in nostalgia, with the band leaning into familiar melodies and refrains, all in an attempt to please the crowds. They succeed, at least for the crowd that was at the Soundstage taping, and there are likely to be plenty of Chicago fans at home who'll enjoy either the CD or its accompanying DVD.

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