In April 1971, Chicago became the first rock band to sell out a week at Carnegie Hall. Yes, the same historic venue that hosted Tchaikovsky, Caruso, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, and the Beatles. That Carnegie Hall.
Chicago did eight shows between April 5 and 10, 1971, and each was recorded. A four-album set was released that sold two million copies.
Trombonist James Pankow was very unhappy with the album sound quality.
“I hate it. Well, I hate the horn sound. The acoustics of Carnegie Hall were never meant for amplified music, and the brass was amplified, solely, obviously, to compete with the rhythm section, which is amplified, and for whatever reasons, the sound of the brass after being miked came out sounding like kazoos.”
Four albums? “There’s a lot of good material, but there’s a lot of stuff that I was unhappy with and I didn’t think should be released,” said trumpeter and founding member Lee Loughnane.
Now, as part of the 50th anniversary of Carnegie, Chicago will be releasing all eight performances for the first time as part of a new 16-CD box set with replica show posters, excerpts from the original concert programs and a 28-page photo booklet. Loughnane and engineer Tim Jessup spent nearly a year re-mastering more than 40 concert tapes at Loughnane’s home studio.
The release date is July 16 and the set will retail for $180.