Eventually shortened the whole thing to Chicago.
Eventually shortened the whole thing to Chicago.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Chicago (CTA) – live at Fillmore West – August 15, 1969 – Band soundboard

Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, or eventually just Chicago, were one of those bands more closely associated with Chicago blues outfits like Electric Flag than horn-based Pop in the beginning. The only bands with as many members as Chicago were the soul outfits of the time. And even though they were heading into a direction of Blues/Soul/Fusion, they were an interesting twist on music in 1967, when they first got started, proclaiming themselves a Rock Band With horns. By 1969, when this concert was performed, they had released their debut album; simply titled Chicago Transit Authority, in May of that year. It was unusual, in that it was probably the first time a new band issued a double-debut album. But there was a lot of memorable material to be had, and the album was a huge seller – and a good start.

Later, with changes and direction shifts and a broader-based audience growing, Chicago became more mainstream and less politically charged – and with each album, the packaging became more elaborate, as they drifted away from being a Rock Band with Horns to a band with Pop leanings.

Old fans drifted away, or stuck around for the earlier numbers, which they played less and less. Their sound got softer and less politcally charged. But they still are together, with three of the original members in the lineup.

As a reminder of what they sounded like in the early days, during the release of their debut album, here is a concert given by Chicago at the Fillmore West on August 15, 1969. A caveat: one little problem – the last song, Liberation ends just as the drum solo starts – the original tape ran out. So it’s possible the last 2 or 3 minutes are missing. However, the sound is so good for the period, and it’s such a great concert overall, that this missing bit at the end is, even though frustrating, that it shouldn’t deter you from enjoying a historic concert by a band who never sounded so good.

Otherwise, enjoy and enjoy loud.

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