Cheap Trick Unlimited
Despite a string of classic power pop studio albums in the late ’70s, Cheap Trick’s career wasn’t made until the seminal Live At Budokan was released in 1979. Fittingly, the band celebrated its 25th anniversary together in 1999, with a special concert on their home turf, Rockford, IL’s Davis Park, and the results are now available in a stunning two-disc set, appropriately titled Silver.
Clearly energized by their adoring hometown crowd, Cheap Trick pull out all the stops, playing rare material they haven’t played live in years, bringing on several guest stars, and generally rocking out in a major way. Ripping out of the gates with a smoking version of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” (also covered on Budokan), the band rocks through 25 years of Trick history. Classics like “I Want You to Want Me,” “Voices,” “Dream Police,” and “Surrender” sound as fresh as the first time you heard them. It quickly becomes obvious that the years may find Cheap Trick a little older and wiser, but no less fun, entertaining, or powerful.
Aside from the expected classic material, highlights include a chiming “That 70’s Song” (also known as Big Star’s “In The Street,” rerecorded and rearranged to serve as the theme to TV’s That 70’s Show), a driving “Woke Up With a Monster,” and the bouncy “Hard To Tell.” The guest appearances range from big names like Slash (guitar on “You’re All Talk”), Billy Corgan (guitar on “Just Got Back”), and Art Alexakis (vocals and guitar on a cover of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper”) to The Rockford Symphony Orchestra and The Harlem High School Choir. More touchingly for band and fans alike, though, are nods to the band’s history (trotting out Tom Petersson’s mid-’80s replacement, Jon Brant, to play bass on “If You Want My Love” and “She’s Tight”) and their strong sense of family, with members of the Robin Zander and Rick Neilsen families liberally sprinkled over the two discs.
All in all, Silver proves that a quarter of a century on, Cheap Trick are still a force to be reckoned with. Here’s to another 25 years — and more.
Cheap Trick Unlimited, http://www.cheaptrick.com