Live by Request-Chicago (2002)

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Released 14-Jan-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Bonus Track-Just You 'N' Me, Hard To Say I'm Sorry / Get Away
Discography
Credits-Band
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 93:21 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:12) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lawrence Jordan
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Robert Lamm
James Pankow
Lee Loughanne
Walter Parazaider
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Robert Lamm
James Pankow


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This concert was recorded in 2002 and was part of the A&E Live By Request series. This is a somewhat unusual concert series as the acts have no idea what they are going to be playing that night, since they are at the mercy of the fans in the audience or (in this case) those fans phoning in during the live broadcast on cable television. Similar discs by artists such as The Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, and kd Lang have already been reviewed here and you may wish to take a look at them later.

    Now Chicago are a band that even if you cannot name a single song from their vast catalogue, I can guarantee you will have at least heard one at some stage over the last 30-odd years, for that is how long this group has been around. Starting out in 1969, unlike many of the groups still doing the rounds of the so-called nostalgia-act set, Chicago still have four original members in their line-up. Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Lee Loughanne, and Walter Parazaider are all still going strong and look decidedly normal considering they have been wealthy music stars for several decades.

    The night is played out like a television show, with a host (Mark McEwen), who engages in a bit of chat with the band and the audience and also fields the calls from the fans. Thankfully the fans that call in all pretty much want to hear the big hits and the memorable tunes, so we are treated to Chicago classics such as Saturday In The Park, If You Leave Me Now, 25 Or 6 To 4, You're The Inspiration, Colour My World, and Look Away.

    The only downer on the whole show is the annoying interruption from various other 'stars' who decide to state the obvious and congratulate the band on a wonderful career. These messages from the likes of Jay Leno, Dick Clark, and the cast of The Sopranos only serve to interrupt the concert and really provide very little in the way of value.

    The full track listing is:

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Track Listing

1. Beginnings
2. Saturday In The Park
3. Look Away
4. If You Leave Me Now
5. DoesAnybodyReallyKnowWhatTimeItIs?
6. 25 Or 6 To 4
7. Feelin' Stronger Every Day
8. Dialogue (Part I &II)
9. You're The Inspiration
10. Questions 67 And 68
11. Colour My World
12. Make Me Smile
13. Old Days
14. Free

Transfer Quality

Video

    Originally broadcast for television, this video transfer in presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. 16x9 enhancement is not present.

    While it certainly won't set any new standards for clarity, this is a mostly sharp and detailed transfer that certainly is limited by the television-based source material. Thankfully there is very little grain to contend with and there is no low level noise.

    The colours are fairly nondescript. With the entire show devoid of any real vivid concert lighting and this being a television style show, the colours are all pretty much television friendly and as such don't stray off a conventional and conservative palette.

    No MPEG artefacts are present. Other artefacts are also absent.
   
    There are subtitles, which is always good to see on a concert disc. They are also pretty accurate.

    The disc is dual layered with the change occurring at 49:12 right on a fade to black for an ad break, making it virtually impossible to detect.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD, a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The full surround track is certainly the track of choice since the two channel effort sounds positively anaemic in comparison. It lacks any real punch or spatial quality and suffers from an inconsistent mix of the instruments. You can barely hear any of the brass instruments which, considering the importance these play in Chicago songs, is just not good enough. Having said all that, unfortunately the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is not all that great either. It certainly offers a wide and enveloping soundstage, but doesn't offer that nice bright clarity we come to expect from modern 5.1 recordings. Fans will love it regardless, but I certainly can't rank it among the top 10 or even top 20 5.1 soundtracks I have had the pleasure to have listened to.

    Dialogue during the many between-song chats was always clear and there were no visible audio sync problems with any of the vocal performances.

    As mentioned above, the surround channels receive a reasonable amount of use throughout, mostly dedicated to the audience sounds, but there is a little fill-in music to create a mild enveloping effect.

    The subwoofer is barely noticed.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

Bonus Track

    Running for 10:59 this is simply two additional songs from the television performance that didn't make the final cut. Included here are Just You 'N' Me and the classic Hard To Say I'm Sorry in medley with Get Away.

Discography

    Four static screens that simply list the phenomenal number of albums in chronological order that Chicago have released since 1969.

Credits

    One static screen listing the band members (current) and their instrument/role.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 disc is identical to this one.

Summary

    Chicago Live By Request will be an absolute treasure for fans. Not only do you get many of the band's timeless songs performed, but there is significant chat and banter during the course of the evening that puts a real human face and an air of informality on the whole gig. As a result it is a very relaxing show to watch.

    The video is without flaw, but is a little too much like a television standard to compare to a modern offering.

    The audio is offered in two flavours. The two channel Dolby Digital effort is poor and weak, while the full 5.1 surround track offers a much wider and fuller soundstage but still lacks that certain bright clean shine of a modern concert recording.

    The extras are pretty limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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