Chicago XXVI: Live in Concert
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Chicago XXVI: Live in Concert is a live album by the American band Chicago, their twenty-sixth album overall, released in 1999. Their second live album to be released in the US, it was Chicago's first of the sort since 1971's Chicago at Carnegie Hall and 1972's Live in Japan, though the band had released commercial VHS tapes of two concerts in the early 1990s.
Featuring the band's latter day line-up, Chicago XXVI: Live in Concert is composed mostly of their wealth of hits, with three brand new studio recordings ending the album, one of which, Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", curiously features non-band member Michael McDonald on lead vocals.
Released on their own Chicago Records imprint, Chicago XXVI: Live in Concert became the first new Chicago album to fail to chart upon its release (Take Me Back to Chicago, a compilation of hits and album tracks having failed to chart upon its release some 14 years earlier) and, consequently, went out of print a few years later. The imprint has since folded.
The reaction among fans who purchased the album was mixed. Many appreciated that the current line-up of the band finally had an official live release. Others also appreciated that the recording was done with modern recording equipment leading to a crisp, modern sound. The band was also applauded for clean, tight performances compared to sloppier performances in older recordings.
Criticism was often targeted at Michael McDonald's appearance as a lead vocalist when Chicago had several resident lead singers. In addition, the album's use of vocal and horn over-dubs to augment the actual live performance (a common practice with many live albums) received some criticism. Finally, the reaction to the song selection on the album was mixed. Some criticized its lack of representation of music from Chicago's post-1984 catalog while others noted that the live songs chosen for Chicago XXVI weren't substantially different from other live recordings the band had sold commercially in the 1990s.
Regardless of these criticisms, Chicago XXVI remains a popular collector's item, due to its relative obscurity compared to other albums in Chicago's catalog.
- "The Ballet" (James Pankow) – 13:29
- "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long" (James Pankow) – 4:40
- "Mongonucleosis" (James Pankow) – 3:39
- "Hard Habit To Break" (Steve Kipner, Jon Parker) – 5:16
- "Call on Me" (Lee Loughnane) – 4:33
- "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" (Peter Cetera, James Pankow) – 4:24
- "Just You 'N' Me" (James Pankow) – 6:18
- "Beginnings" (Robert Lamm) – 5:51
- "Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Get Away" (Peter Cetera, David Foster, Robert Lamm) – 5:38
- "25 or 6 to 4" (Robert Lamm) – 5:51
- "Back to You" (Robert Lamm, Keith Howland) – 3:41
- "If I Should Ever Lose You" (Burt Bacharach, Tonio K.) – 4:30
- "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, Carl Smith) – 4:11
- Features Michael McDonald on lead vocal
- The above three tracks are new studio recordings
Chicago XXVI: Live in Concert (Chicago 26) did not chart in the US or UK.
- Bill Champlin - keyboards, guitars, lead & backing vocals
- Keith Howland - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals
- Tris Imboden - drums, percussion
- Robert Lamm - keyboards, acoustic guitar, percussion, lead & backing vocals
- Lee Loughnane - trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, backing vocals
- James Pankow - trombone, percussion, backing vocals
- Walter Parazaider - saxophones, flute, clarinet, backing vocals
- Jason Scheff - electric bass, lead & backing vocals