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A profile of the rock band Chicago - originally called the Chicago Transit Authority - from their inception in 1967 to present day is presented. Constants over the entire course of their existence are wanting to be comprised of the best musicians, initially all from their native Chicago (hence the name), and the democracy of sorts which ruled the way they operate as a group. That democracy meant that no one person was ever to be known as the front man, each band member was treated equally - which further meant that the contributions of each person was considered of and treated as equal value even if it didn't meet the sensibility of some - and each band member was meant to contribute to the best of his ability. After the struggles of being a club band to their initial success finally able to crack airplay on AM radio, they became known as the rare breed of a horn band i.e. that equally featured the horn section unlike most bands of the era solely featuring guitars and/or keyboards. ...Written by
I'm a huge fan of the band Chicago, mainly of the 1968-1978 output. The combination of jazz, rock and pop was uncanny, and the band wasn't afraid to try out new things that were uncomfortable at times. I was looking forward to this documentary, to learn about the various band members, the different variations of the band and how some of their big songs were composed. What we get instead is a biased view from the four remaining original members, who seem defensive of where they are today.
I enjoyed the tribute to Terry Kath, easily the heart and soul of this band, whose death changed everything. The man was a guitar legend, and seemingly underrated compared to most of this time frame. Jimi Hendrix himself called him the best guitar player of the time, even better than himself! Kath also had a soulful growl, similar to Ray Charles, that gave their sound an R&B flavor. It was fun to learn about the early days, from forming in the namesake city to moving out to L.A. living in squalor to creating albums at a retreat in Colorado, where anything and everything was allowed (sex, drugs, rock and roll). However, we lose Kath to a gun accident, and the band never fully recovered. They lost their label and their direction. Eventually, they would get resigned and start working with David Foster. This period is very polarizing to fans. Some think this was Chicago at their best, others thought the band was too slick, too focused on ballads and Peter Cetera. Danny Seraphine admitted he was the one who pushed them towards Foster, and Foster even admits he might have changed the band too much. Lamm considered leaving the band at this time, and Cetera soon would when the band wouldn't allow him time to work on a solo album. Shortly after, Seraphine would get canned when his drumming deteriorated due to his focus on the more managerial aspects of the band. The four others don't seem to have nice things to say about Cetera or Seraphine. They say Cetera "wasn't that important" to the band, regardless of the fact he was one of their main lead singers and created many of their important singles. They make Seraphine's replacement seem like such a better drummer, which is completely false. These remaining members seem bitter and grumpy about things, and it's really too bad.
The better name for this film should have been "how a great band turned into an oldies act and can't let go of things." Disappointing.
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