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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cheap Trick

At Budokan-The Complete Concert

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is the classic Cheap Trick album At Budokan with several tracks added to make it both representative of the whole performance and a two CD set. It is safe to say that Cheap Trick both defined and transcended the power pop genre. They combined (and continue to) catchy melodies, metallic leanings, Beatlesish arrangements and punk angst to produce a sound all their own. Indeed, it has been reported that, shortly before his death, John Lennon was asked what the Beatles would sound like if they were still together. He responded by saying that they would sound very much like Cheap Trick.

Listening to this album, it is easy to see how Cheap Trick influenced punk and thrash while calling neither home. They really seem to have been a very large influence on Jane's Addiction and others. Seen as a snapshot of a period of the band`s career, this is a fine album. The discs include well done CDrom functions including short interviews of each band member (Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos, Tom Petersson and Robin Zander), two live videos and access to the web page (through an ISP). The website can also be accessed by pointing your browser to http://www.cheaptrick.com.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hello There
This is a well crafted pop song apparently written specifically as an opener. It features energetic and potent guitar overtones.
Come On, Come On
Come On, Come On is a straight-ahead pop tune. Although nothing extremely special, it is quite a good track.
Big Eyes
A Beatlesesque intro (slightly reminiscent of While My Guitar Gently Weeps) leads into a strong power pop number.
Look Out
This cut comes across as early Beatles meets the Ramones.
Downed
One of my all-time favorite Cheap Trick songs, the chorus has a marvellous, somewhat haunted texture, and the whole piece has strong `60`s sensibilities.
Can't Hold On
A bluesy guitar dominated intro gives way to a slow and straight-forward blues groove that is almost Zepish..
Oh Caroline
Yet another rousing rock tune, the Beatles influences are prominent here.
Surrender
Most likely, everyone in the Western hemisphere has heard this song. Surrender is a fun and rather entertaining cut.
Auf Wiedersehen
Punkishly angry textures calling to mind the Clash begin the composition. Metal tones show up in the form of a rhythm guitar section that flirts with Priest`s take on the Green Manalishi.
Need Your Love
A slow drum intro starts the piece. The tone here is nicely tense and in a mode similar to The Scorpion`s The Zoo (which this predates). There are some very interesting guitar overtonesin this pleasant extended number. This one really grooves.
High Roller
Although containing AC/DC leanings, the piece is built on elements which show up in modern alternative music.
Southern Girls
A Cheap Trick classic, this is a pop song with bite. Much along the lines of more recent bands like Green Day, tis is a strong entry.
I Want You To Want Me
Another classic Trick song, this one seems to suffer today from being overplayed. This is a pop-rocker that feels like it is showing the scars of being a hit single.
California Man
California Man is yet another cut that many have heard. It takes a gritty, crunchy approach to a pop song.
Goodnight
This is a reworking of Hello There. The lyrics have been redone to signify the ending, rather than beginning, of a concert. It utilizes the "everything falls apart" concept to ending a song.
Ain't That A Shame
Another hard-edged pop tune, Ain`t That a Shame is a cover of a Fats Domino song.
Clock Strikes Ten
Guitar chinging to simulate the chiming of a clock starts the piece in a wonderfully imaginative way. This is a solid rocker that features a short drum solo by Carlos.
 
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