Listen to ’25 or 6 to 4′ From ‘Chicago at Carnegie Hall Complete’ Edition

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Chicago became the first non-classical group to perform six nights in a row at Carnegie Hall 50 years ago. Between April 5-10, 1971, the band played eight shows at the celebrated venue (including two matinees) and recorded every one of them. In October of that year, performance highlights were featured on the band’s first-ever live album, the four-record set, Chicago at Carnegie Hall.

To honor the 50th anniversary of Chicago’s historic concerts, the band has released all eight Carnegie Hall shows in their entirety for the first time in a new 16-CD deluxe boxed set. Chicago at Carnegie Hall Complete arrived on September 10, 2021, exclusively at (It was originally planned for July 26.) Listen to several previously unreleased performances below.

From the April 7 announcement: Chicago founding member and trumpeter Lee Loughnane and engineer Tim Jessup spent nearly a year meticulously going through more than 40 concert tapes at Loughnane’s new studio in Arizona to remaster each concert. Their hard work paid off with eight fantastic-sounding shows.

Chicago at Carnegie Hall Complete is presented in a white folio that’s embossed with the group’s trademark logo. The set beautifully commemorates the event through memorabilia that includes replicas of the three posters that accompanied the original vinyl release and images of the original concert program, tickets, and other memorabilia from the historic run. The collection also comes with a 28-page booklet illustrated with photos from the concerts, plus new liner notes with contributions by Loughnane; archivist Jeff Magid, writer/producer David Wild and comedy icon/Chicago fanatic Jimmy Pardo.

When Chicago arrived in New York City in April 1971 to play eight shows at Carnegie Hall, the band was at the peak of its early experimental period and riding high on the success of the group’s third consecutive platinum album, Chicago III.

Watch this lowdown of what was happening in April ’71

For these historic shows, the band played a cross-section of classic rock hits from their first three studio albums, including “Beginnings,” “Questions 67 and 68,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “25 or 6 to 4.”

Listen to this previously unreleased performance of “Free” from Chicago III with Terry Kath singing lead vocals

The set also includes the previously unheard first song from the first show, “Someday (August 29, 1968).”

Watch the official trailer for the set

The complete track listing is available here.

Listen to the previously unreleased performance of “Someday (August 29, 1968”

The performances showcase memorable contributions from every band member, including Terry Kath’s stellar guitar work, heartfelt vocals by Kath, Robert Lamm, and Peter Cetera, the vibrant horn work by Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walt Parazaider, as well as the jazz-influenced drumming of Danny Seraphine.

Listen to a previously unreleased performance of “25 or 6 to 4”

That original quadruple-LP reached #3 on the Billboard 200, was certified platinum, and is still the band’s best-selling live album.

Listen to the previously unreleased live performance of “Elegy” suite, which originally encompassed Side Four of Chicago III

Related: Our Album Rewind of Chicago’s eclectic debut

Best Classic Bands Staff

9 Comments so far

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  1. 122intheshade
    #1 122intheshade 8 April, 2021, 00:30

    One of the band members way back when said the horns sounded like kazoos on this. He wasn’t wrong then, and remastering hasn’t helped. I love Chicago (up to the chocolate LP anyway) as much as the next guy, but no thanks.

    Reply this comment
    • Billy K.
      Billy K. 5 June, 2021, 06:07

      I’m skeptical, too, of that could be fixed. Bought the LP-set when it first came out, and was extremely disappointed with the sound quality. Ended up selling it.

      Not too impressed with Carnegie Hall’s track record on certain other live albums, either. In the case of Kazantzidis(Greek singer, in 1966) and the Raspberries(1973), they were ready to record the shows….only to pull the plug on them at the last minute.

      By all accounts, from people who attended the shows, stellar performances that could have been captured……but weren’t.

      I don’t have any respect for that venue, after botching up live recordings of some of my favorite artists!

      Reply this comment
      • 122intheshade
        122intheshade 18 July, 2021, 01:07

        For some reason, Chicago just wasn’t recorded well live. They did a King Biscuit Flour Hour (Live in Louisville?) in the mid-70s that was released a while back. Not much better. Too bad. I saw them several times in the 70s, and loved the shows.

        Reply this comment
      • Jeff
        Jeff 23 August, 2021, 17:01

        Actually they did, When the remaster Box Set first came out on C.D. They did a better job of remastering the sound because of digital now so they can fix things. I have the Vinyl and The first Box Set sounds much Better. But for what they want for this is a little too pricey for me.

        Reply this comment
  2. Max
    #2 Max 5 June, 2021, 16:15

    If nothing else, these recordings proved the band could perform flawlessly live and recreate the magic of their vinyl efforts to date.

    Reply this comment
  3. Da Mick
    #3 Da Mick 9 September, 2021, 17:18

    I realize that I’ll catch a shitstorm for this, but I just don’t understand so many folks’ veneration for Terry Kath. I’ve heard people on these pages say he was “greater than Hendrix,” and so many other true greats. While it’s true Kath was pretty nimble on the fretboard, I’ve never heard him play anything more than running up and down scales — back and forth, at high speeds — there’s no thoughtful space, no melodic intention — no soul. Essentially Kth reminds me of so many guys who sat around their houses with their guitars, all the time, just running scales to see how fast they could get. And frankly, his speed is not even that clean, as much of the time he sounds like he’s chasing something, or being chased. The only time he begins to show any kind of actual idea, is when he hits the wah, on 25 or 6 to 4 and starts to climb the fretboard with some double string bends, which only lasts about three notes and then it’s back to mindless noodling. Sorry, but those kinds of aimless acrobatics on the guitar neck is not even close to what the true greats achieve, with orchestral guitar parts and solos that actually have dynamics, beginnings, endings and go somewhere. Despite what I’ve said about Kath, I don’t have anything against him. But I just can’t continue to listen to the unwarranted praise he’s gotten over the years, as one of rock’s premier guitarists. The man is a noodler.

    Reply this comment
  4. Byblos
    #4 Byblos 13 September, 2021, 00:04

    From Public Record interviews:
    “When first hearing Terry Kath play, Jimi Hendrix was quoted as saying that he thought Terry Kath played guitar better than he did.
    It was later on reported that Jimi Hendrix also called Terry Kath the “Best Guitarist in the Universe.”
    Interviews with guitarists Jeff Lynne, Steve Lukather, Mike Campbell, and Joe Walsh, all praised Kath’s work.
    Walsh said, “He was a brilliant musician. He was a songwriter and a great singer. THe was such a monster on guitar… He was just a total experimenter”

    Righteous Praise indeed………

    Reply this comment
  5. Sixgees
    #5 Sixgees 13 September, 2021, 11:45

    After hearing cuts from this new complete concert dates; the sound quality is amazing. Horns, Drums and of course guitar work are so powerful. Killa’

    Reply this comment
  6. ALLAN J
    #6 ALLAN J 14 September, 2021, 21:06

    I am a Musician/Music Analyst/Guitarist playing for the past 54 years…the greatest guitar solo I’ve ever heard…recorded in ONE take without error, has been 25 or 6 to 4.
    Oh, Thank You Great Spirit…Songs of the Evergreen. The Greatest Guitarist of them All…
    Terry Allan Kath and the Greatest Band of them All, Chicago.

    Reply this comment

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