Cheap Trick

Various Live Albums

img_6735Cheap Trick – Various Live Albums

I’ve been a huge Cheap Trick fan for a long time. In this blog that’s only a couple of months old I’ve written about their new album, a biography on them and a couple of their studio albums. I have always enjoyed their records but when thinking about the band recently I realized how much I love them live. This is really no surprise, they are known as a superb live band and a live album, Live At Budokan, was their break out success. So I decided to check out a bunch more of their live records to see how well they capture the essence of seeing and hearing Cheap Trick live.

Two of the CDs I received are official Cheap Trick releases.  Their second live album after Budokan was 1998’s Music For Hangovers. It is a pared down selection of tracks from the band’s four nights at Chicago’s famed Metro, where they played each of their first four albums in their entirety, one per night. While the CD sounds great it’s hard to get very excited about this album knowing how heavily edited it is. I very much would have preferred a box set with all four complete shows. Silver is their third live album, taken from a 1999 show in the band’s hometown of Rockford, IL where they were performing in celebration of their 25th anniversary. This release comes in several versions. I got the CD/DVD combo.

The remainder of the discs I ordered are all, shall we say, “unofficial”. They cover many different time periods and range in quality greatly. They are all taken from radio broadcasts so while the sound is never terrible it’s never quite as pristine as the official releases but honestly that’s ok with me. In my book Cheap Trick are always better with a little buzz and hum than slick and clean. Here is the rundown of the releases –
Rockford Armory – Rockford Armory, Rockford, IL 1977 (edited show)
Raising Hell – 4 discs, Rockford Armory, Rockford, IL 1977 (full show) / International Amphitheater, Chicago, IL 1979
On Top Of The World – Capital Theater, Passaic, NJ 1978
Auld Lang Syne – Forum, Los Angeles, CA 1979
Turn On The Radio – 2 discs, Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI 1982 / Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI 1987
Live In Wisconson (yes it’s misspelled for some reason) – Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI 1994
In The Joint – Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV 1995
So the shows represented here run from the year of their first album all the way through to their twelfth. They are great documents of some incredible concerts and an amazing addition to my Cheap Trick shelf.

img_6737

Cheap Trick Website
Cheap Trick on Facebook
Cheap Trick on Twitter
Cheap Trick on Instagram

Cheap Trick from Amazon
Cheap Trick from iTunes
Cheap Trick on Spotify

Cheap Trick

Woke Up With A Monster and Special One

img_6693Cheap Trick – Woke Up With A Monster and Special One

Checking through my collection I realized that I was missing a couple of Cheap Trick studio albums. Somehow I had skipped over two of their lesser known (and lesser liked) CDs from the mid ’90s/early 2000s. It was a time period where I was guilty of not following their new releases too closely as they had left longtime label Sony/Epic and seemed to be jumping from one sinking ship to another with each subsequent disc. Nonetheless I had to correct the error of my ways and get my hands on these records.

1997’s Woke Up With a Monster with the band’s first album away from longtime home Epic records. They had moved over to Warner Brothers and recorded this album with the legendary Ted Templeman of Van Halen fame at the helm. Just as it was released the execs who signed them were let go and the record fell into a black hole as the band was quickly dropped. This is some undeserved treatment for a record I came to love from first play. I can easily call it their most aggressive release since their early days. I really enjoyed hearing the band dispense wth their softer side, forego the ballads and hold their pop sensibilities in check long enough to just rock the hell out. I’m not saying its a perfect album, in fact its a downright weird one with lots of experimentation going on but it has really struck a chord with me.

Conversely, we have 2003’s Special One, a self produced release on their own label in partnership with Big3 that is frankly a very mixed bag and possibly my least favorite Cheap Trick album. Sadly there’s not really a true rocker among the tracklist, a few of the songs try to break out and jam but the odd restraint never seems to fall away. It feels like this album was written in a hotel room on acoustic guitars, had some electrified stuff added as an afterthought and was recorded and mixed with little to no direction. Cheap Trick’s leftovers and bits and pieces are usually better than this stuff. And even that is not to say I hate it, it just doesn’t measure up to any of the standards the band has set.

So there we are. Collection complete. Until the next one. Which I understand will be November. Long live Cheap Trick.

img_6695

Cheap Trick Website
Cheap Trick on Facebook
Cheap Trick on Twitter
Cheap Trick on Instagram

Cheap Trick from Amazon
Cheap Trick from iTunes
Cheap Trick on Spotify

Cheap Trick

Reputation Is A Fragile Thing by Mike Hayes

Cheap Trick – Reputation Is A Fragile Thing by Mike Hayes 

I have wanted to own this book for a few years but since only around 1,000 were printed in 1998 they all sold out and were in high demand from fans in the aftermarket (and therefore quite expensive). With the band’s recent resurgence brought on by 2016’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello album and their Hall of Fame induction, original publisher and co-author/editor Ken Sharp teamed up with author Mike Hayes to bring it back into print. 

Mike Hayes compiled the book from his own interviews of the band, working on it for many years as a labor of love. Before it was all over he had enlisted the help of Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, as well as renowned rock and roll journalist/author/publisher Ken Sharp. The book features amazingly detailed info on the band’s career, boasts over 250 pages, contains over 150 b&w photos, has a forward by Roy Wood of The Move/ELO/Wizzard and remains essentially the only biography on Cheap Trick ever written.

Please note that while this is a new printing of the book it is essentially an exact copy of the original publication. It has not been revised or updated so it still only covers the years 1973-1997.


Cheap Trick on Facebook
Cheap Trick Website

Reputation Is A Fragile Thing from Ken Sharp

Cheap Trick

We’re All Alright!

Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright (deluxe version)

Not too many rock bands who have been together for closing in on 45 years can match their longevity with their quality, especially with their latter day output. But this could not be more true for Cheap Trick. Following closely behind last year’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello and their overdue induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, We’re All Alright! keeps the Cheap Trick party rolling on. 

Robin’s voice is still as mind-blowingly versatile as ever with Rick (guitars), Tom (bass) and Rick’s son Daxx (drums) giving him everything he needs to rock out, deliver a punk snarl or touch your heart with soft crooning. While the album lacks a standout hit like last year’s “When I Wake Up Tomorrow” the diversity provided by the power pop of “Nowhere”, grinding blues backing of “Lolita” and acoustic beauty of “Floating Down” more than make up for this absence. 

The deluxe CD contains 3 extra tracks that are well worth the couple of extra bucks. 

Cheap Trick on Facebook
Cheap Trick Website

We’re All Alright! (deluxe) on Amazon