3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2013
Back in February 1979 I saw an up-and-coming American rock band from Rockford, Illinois tear the roof off a packed Barbarella's Nightclub in Birmingham, England, on their first full headlining tour of the U.K. The place went nuts and the band was simply awesome. Singer Robin Zander was the perfect front man, with flowing blond locks and silver tonsils; guitarist Rick Nielsen was a flailing cartoon character with riffs to die for; bassist Tom Petersson played a jaw dropping twelve-string bass that sounded like nothing you've ever heard; and drummer Bun E. Carlos resembled a chain smoking middle-aged accountant but laid down a backbeat that left many of his illustrious influences in the shade. The band was Cheap Trick and I became a disciple. Cheap Trick took up where the Beatles had left off - four great individual musicians with their own unique and highly distinctive personalities - a marketing executive's dream. They had a cool image but didn't take themselves too seriously. And they produced great music. Reputation is a fragile thing, and over the years there were one or two patchy studio releases, but just when you thought Cheap Trick had reached a watershed they'd bounce right back with yet another gem, showing a resilience and quality that set them apart. But it is in the live arena that the band has consistently delivered. Cheap Trick's 1979 album At Budokan, re-issued in extended form in 1998, was a landmark and iconic release - often hailed as one of the best live albums of all time - and the band's career has been punctuated by other impressive reminders of their peerless on-stage splendor. These have included 1999's Music For Hangovers, 2001's anniversary Silver CD/DVD and the band's bold but victorious reworking of Sgt. Pepper Live in 2009. This special Setlist compilation includes a powerhouse idiosyncratic cover of Bob Dylan's "Mrs. Henry," an early gig staple, which allows Nielsen and Petersson full rein to demonstrate their fretboard dexterity. "The Ballad Of TV Violence," also recorded at the legendary "Whiskey" in Los Angeles, gives Zander the perfect platform to show off his phenomenal vocal talents. The band's profile soared in 1979 with the release of the hit single "I Want You To Want Me," included here. This collection also features that pinnacle of power pop, "Surrender," taken from the aforementioned milestone Budokan release. Other memorable selections include Petersson's lead vocal on "I Know What I Want," originally from the Dream Police album, and a stunning live version of Cheap Trick's smash number one hit single "The Flame." Rick Nielsen, with tongue firmly in cheek, describes Cheap Trick as "four great guys with three great chords." But in truth this is one of the most talented and criminally underrated bands to have survived the musical convulsions of the last four decades. These days, fellow musicians and critics alike laud Cheap Trick as one of the most influential rock bands to emerge from the late Seventies and their influence remains every bit as strong and vital today. This Setlist perfectly showcases the power and diversity of Cheap Trick's material in concert, with expansive renditions of some classic songs.