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Print Version
Reviewed by -
Matt Rowe
Released: August 12, 2003
Origination Year: 1972
Time: 48:38
Tracks: 11
Produced by: James William Guercio
Style: Studio
Format: DVD-Audio
Enhancement: MLP
Label: Rhino Records

Track Listing
  1. A Hit by Varese
  2. All is Well
  3. Now That You've Gone
  4. Dialogue (Part One)
  5. Dialogue (Part Two)
  6. While the City Sleeps
  7. Saturday in the Park
  8. State of the Union
  9. Goodbye
  10. Alma Mater
  11. Dialogue (Live) *

* Bonus Track


Robert Lamm:
Vocals / Keyboards

Terry Kath:
Vocals / Guitar

Peter Cetera:
Bass / Vocals

Danny Seraphine:
Drums / Congas / Antique Bells

Lee Loughnane:
Trumpet / Percussion / Vocals

James Pankow:
Trombone / Percussion

Walter Parazaider:
Woodwinds / Percussion

Anyone who has listened to the radio in the 70s and 80s are all too familiar with the champs of Top 40 who sold lots and lots of albums. That band was Chicago. With a great blend of jazz and rock, Chicago saw many of their songs being taken to the heart of listeners and thus elevate them into the stratosphere. Girls fell in love with the swooning ballad of "Colour My World" while guys dug the rock of "25 or 6 to 4". After a period, Chicago released what I would characterize as their strongest material. The album is Chicago V, in keeping with a naming convention that extended into the "double digits".

Chicago V unleashed a highly energetic single with "Dialogue Parts 1 and 2" and was capped by the release of the very popular "Saturday in the Park". Both used Chicago's signature horn section to great effect as did the rest of the album. But that's not saying too much. It's Chicago's uniqueness with their superb song crafting and the implementation of a strong jazz merge that endeared Chicago with its fans for many years, many albums, and many Top 40 songs.

Rhino has dipped into the Chicago library and pulled out a winner for conversion to DVD-Audio in Chicago V. Chicago doesn't need explanation to many of you reading this review. What you want to know is did Rhino and the remix engineers do the job that this album deserved. Yes, they sure did.

The album contains the original 10 songs and throws in a bonus live version of "Dialogue". The supplied selections are the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround for the installed base of DVD-Audio-less DVD players which insures that you can hear a great album in surround. Additionally, there is Advanced Resolution Surround at 96kHz/24-bit and Advanced Resolution Stereo at the same sample rate for players that have DVD-Audio capability.

The songs have been given a new injection of blood by the wonders of MLP. With clarity that opens up the fullness of the songs, you are in for a definite treat. You can hear the timbre of each drum as it resonates. You are amazed at the sound of the bass as it is plucked and hangs during the intro of "Dialogue".

Clearly, it is very evident that the advancements of authoring for DVD-Audio has improved upon the format from its earlier days. Chicago V unveils a superior, and clean, mix that will have you digging in your wallet for the other recent Chicago offering, Chicago II (review coming soon).

This 10 song +1 issue is an exciting revelation to the qualities and promises of hi resolution offerings. Chicago fans do not need a drawn out exploration into the technicalities of DVD-Audio and whether the channels offer the correct placements. Of course, this DVD-A is perfection in that. What we are all anxious for is whether the album is a necessary purchase. Not only is the purity of the lossless MLP 5.1 and Stereo mixes exhilarating but the Dolby Digital offerings are equally convincing. For the installed base of DVD players that do not yet have DVD-Audio capability, this album, amongst others, provide a very compelling reason to purchase it. It will further astound you when you do acquire a DVD-Audio capable player.

For those who are looking to add to their growing DVD-Audio library, Chicago V is a beaut of an album not only in its content but also in its superior mix. It becomes the definitive audio presentation of Chicago and one of their quality releases especially with the entertaining Cetera/Kath politically charged "Dialogue" exchange.

The menu replicates the album cover with the wood carved name and provides a simple menu. You can choose to jump right into the music by selecting PLAY or you can access the song by choosing the TRACK LIST. There is an AUDIO SETUP in case you prefer the Stereo over the pre-determined 5.1 default. Finally, the main menu offers CREDITS which list the band members and their respective instruments, production team, DVD-Audio Credits, and band representation in case you'd like to book the band for your next party or wedding reception.

Once the disc is in play, the songs are represented by a photo and a mini-menu that will give you access to lots of photos, 4-5 per song. Other mini- menu functions include the forward/backward capability as well as instant access to the track listing for selective choices.

The booklet is a nice addition to this album as well. And since packaging is extremely important to the buyer base that will purchase this album, we have to be pleased in other areas as well. Listeners from the 60s and 70s appreciate artwork and good packaging. This is apparently not lost on Rhino. They have beefed up the booklet with a well-written essay on Chicago, a lot of photos, and extensive credits including a discography. The essay opens up the band's feelings and opinions of Chicago V revealing a 'backward' glance.

People, music never sounded this good. And while perceived great sound is definitely in the ears of the listener, I have no hesitation in recommending this album as a DVD-Audio purchase.

Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..."
Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon, 2003